The role of newspaper editorials in the re-production of community
The thesis involves empirical analyses of the language of a sample of popular, daily newspaper editorials, ie. those which consider the national steel strike of late 1979/early 1980. The method used (ie. a form of very detailed qualitative content analysis) requires that readers of the analyses have access to a full copy of all the editorials. This necessitated the production of appendices; they are bound in a separate volume. The theory that newspaper editorials re-produce community involves the specific hypothesis that attempts to re-produce (ie. maintain/legitimate/defend) the existing allegiances associated with the newspapers and their readers take quasi- scientific forms. More specifically, it is argued that an emphasis on explicit argumentative processes draws attention to the important possibility that a crucial social process- attempts to re-produce a communal stock of knowledge in the face of threats posed by events and alternative interpretations-involves, amongst other things,analyses of an empirical instance (ie. -the steel strike) which provide further evidence for the validity of a preferred stock of knowledge and reasoned adjudications between competing stocks. It is suggested that whatever the limitations of the specific focus of the research (eg.the emphasis an explicit knowledge, the suspension of questions of ideology and truth value), it is worthwhile because it facilitates a development of our theoretical/empirical knowledge of some of the crucial social processes found in media language. The concluding chapter distinguishes different forms of the re-production of community, assesses the senses in which the re-productive processes identified are quasi-scientific, and indicates the ways in which a variety of existing theories/findings- eg. common sense,consensus, evaluative/emotive ideas and images, inferential frameworks, ideology, populist language could be supported and/or significantly developed via a consideration of the senses in which some media language is amongst other things, quasi-scientific.