Trends of newspaper reporting on mental illness in the UK

Andriotis, Symeon (2015) Trends of newspaper reporting on mental illness in the UK. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this research study was to examine the textual constructions of people with mental health problems in the British print media as well as to assess whether they promote prejudice for the point of view of the lay public. Drawing on a social constructionist paradigm, which emphasises how language can be utilised to construct reality in distinct ways, the study focused on the specific role assumed by the newspaper medium of communication with regard to the provision of a discursive field within which the construction, reproduction and legitimisation of stigmatising attitudes and ideologies is made possible.
    Through the selection of twenty relevant newspaper articles, deriving from the search of two broadsheet (The Guardian and The Times) and two tabloid newspapers (Daily Mail and The Sun) in the Nexis database, the depiction of two cases of mentally disordered offenders – Nicola Edgington and Phillip Simelane – was investigated. The methodology employed was largely based upon the application of six stages of Foucauldian discourse analysis, as those outlined by Willig (2008, p.115-117).
    The analysis part revealed the emergence of five main discursive contexts that could be seen as contributing, through the delineation of images feeding negative stances as well as by committing to a neoliberal agenda, to the cultivation of public fear and danger concerning mental health issues, thus serving to the endorsement of policies emphasising societal division and, in particular, maintaining the social exclusion of mentally disturbed individuals.
    In general, awareness should be gained, through future research, regarding the importance of language and how its use may affect societal points of view conferring significant implications for the well-being of minorities living in the community.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2016 14:18
    Last Modified: 18 Mar 2016 14:18
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/20310

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