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Title: News of sexual violence against women and girls in the British daily national press
Author: Carter, Cynthia Luanne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3522 5259
Awarding Body: University of Wales, Cardiff
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1998
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This dissertation seeks to offer a productive contribution to critical media research that has attempted to identify and elaborate upon the ways in which the news media report incidents of sexual violence. A central focus of past studies has been on how gender ideology either constructs female victims of sexual violence as 'virgins' (innocent) or 'vamps' (wicked). To better understand this discursive binarism, I argue that an ideology of the 'normal' family often underpins journalistic assumptions about sexual violence thereby creating a common sense around it. Moreover, this common sense operates discursively to naturalise certain familialised feminine (and masculine) roles and behavioural expectations as 'appropriate' and the 'legitimacy' or, at the very least, a sense of 'inevitability' around patriarchal forms of sexual violence which locate women and girls either within (as 'good' women/girls) or outside (as 'bad' women/girls) the dynamics of the 'normal' nuclear family. An important consequence of this is that the sexual violence reported is naturalised - it appears to be an inevitable aspect of 'normal' familial (heterosexual) relations. To begin the work of denaturalising such journalistic common sense, the dissertation offers findings from a quantitative analysis of 1,099 news accounts of sexual violence drawn from the British daily national press between 15 November 1993 and 15 January 1994 illustrating the quantitative contours of familialism which shape them. The findings of this analysis are supported by a close textual reading of a smaller number of news accounts examining how journalists construct particular news actors as to blame for sexual violence, the language used to label them, and the types of news sources routinely utilised to define such incidents. The dissertation concludes that news accounts of sexual violence in the British press contribute the discursive familialisation as well as the normalisation of sexual violence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available