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Title: A corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of the reporting on corporate fraud by UK newspapers, 2004-2014
Author: Ras, Ilse Astrid
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 0037
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines how British newspapers reported corporate fraud between 2004 and 2014. A corpus of approximately 85,000 news articles was collected from seven major daily and three major Sunday British newspapers and examined using corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis. This analysis follows principles set out by Fairclough (2015). The costs of corporate fraud are financial and intangible (Punch, 1996), including the corporate tax gap (HMRC, 2015), the undermining of democratic processes (Punch, 1996), and global wealth inequality (Slater and Kramers, 2016; Kramers, 2017). This thesis draws on Sykes and Matza’s (1957) ‘techniques of neutralisation’, which asserts that those accused of having committed deviant acts employ a specific set of arguments to negate them. Newspapers’ use of these techniques creates a narrative in which corporations are generally relieved of their alleged responsibility for acts of fraud. Corporations are presented as being forced to perform acts that are not always in line with (the spirit of) the law. Responsibility is transferred to regulators and investigators, who are represented as simultaneously too harsh, potentially stifling business growth, and too lenient, allowing corporations to get away with fraud. My original contribution is primarily methodological and analytical. I linguistically analyse a corpus of corporate fraud news, covering a decade of reporting, using a combination of CDA and corpus methods. Previous work on newspaper representations of corporate crime employs little linguistic analysis and covers at most a year of reporting (see Evans and Lundman, 2009 [1983]; Wright et al, 1995; McMullan and McClung, 2006; Williams, 2008; Cavender and Mulcahy, 1998). A further point of originality is theoretical, as I elaborate on the various ways in which techniques of neutralisation (see Sykes and Matza, 1957; Fooks et al, 2012) are expressed.
Supervisor: Gregoriou, Christiana ; Crowley, Tony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available