Crime, locality and morality : membership categorisation and 'newsworthiness' in local newspapers
This thesis examines how the social interaction of reading local newspapers is accomplished in terms of "newsworthiness". This ethnomethodological study draws upon Harvey Sacks' work of membership categorisation analysis in order to demonstrate the work that members of society undertake whilst interpreting newspaper headlines. The analysis identifies members' use of devices and rules to understand that a crime has taken place, and that the crime has relevance to the local area, and could therefore be understood to be locally newsworthy. The study analyses newspaper headlines from two geographical locations; the South-East of London and the North of Ireland. A comparative analysis of the headlines shows that the reader is able to interpret categories in terms of breaches of morality through the selection of juxtaposition categories, and to differentiate between location and locality through the utilisation of local common-sense knowledge. Co-presence operates specifically, invoking the utilisation of common-sense geographies, local and regional common-sense knowledge(s), and contextual resources associated with reading a newspaper. The study focuses particularly upon the various detailed ways that locality and morality construct and configure the representation of crime. Furthermore, the analysis puts forward an empirically based methodology for analysing the utilisation of local common-sense within text, and therefore contributes to our understanding of how inference-rich locational categories (can) invoke interpretations which represent segregation or specificity within a locality.