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Title: Mentioning the war : the myth of the 'Blitz spirit' in British newspaper responses to the July 7th bombings
Author: Kelsey, Darren
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
This thesis analyses the myth of the Blitz spirit in British newspaper responses to the London bombings, July 7 2005. The Blitz spirit is a popular story of Britain during the Second World War, uniting together with defiance and resilience to overcome the threat of invasion from Nazi Germany. By using Roland Barthes' theory of myth, I scrutinise the origins of the Blitz spirit, the messages it suppresses and the ideological impact it had on media coverage after July 7th. A content analysis shows how prominent certain discursive elements were in British newspaper articles between July 8th and August 8th, 2005. A Critical Discourse Analysis then examines how the Blitz spirit was constructed during this period and the ideological role it played. The set of circumstances that London faced in 2005 were drastically different to that of 1940. The perpetrators on July 7th were British citizens, not a foreign enemy equating to the threat of Nazi Germany. Due to a shift in historic context, Blitz spirit analogies were used in different ways, often serving conflicting interests. In some cases a Blitz spirit discourse condoned military responses to terrorism and suppressed critical discourses about the war on terror. But in others it mobilised criticisms of British and American foreign policy. Some discourses reflected criticisms of Islam, whilst others praised London for its multicultural unity. This thesis explores the complex role of the Blitz spirit and argues that whilst it was a problematic feature of post-July 7th media coverage, it did not serve one ideological purpose. Rather, an ideological battleground occurred when elements of myth and popular memory were reused to define events in the present. By analysing this nuanced role of the Blitz spirit, I develop Roland Barthes' theory by considering what happens when a myth established at one moment in time is reused in a different historical context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.584900  DOI: Not available
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