160 research outputs found

    Correlation, collocation and cohesion:A corpus-based critical analysis of violent jihadist discourse

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    This article explores the language of violent jihad, focussing upon lexis encoding concepts from Islam. Through the use of correlation statistics, this article demonstrates that the words encoding such concepts distribute in dependent relationships across different types of texts. The correlation between the words cannot be simply explained in terms of collocation; rather, the correlation is evidence of other forms of cohesion at work in the texts. The variation in patterns of cohesion across a spectrum of texts from those advocating violence to those which do not promote violence demonstrates how these concepts are contested and redefined by violent jihadists and the role that collocation and other forms of cohesion can play in the process. This article concludes that the terms, and their redefinition, are a key part of the symbolic capital used by groups to create identities which licence violence

    ‘This is England, speak English!’:A corpus-assisted critical study of language ideologies in the right-leaning British press

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    This article examines right-leaning press representations of people living in the UK who can’t speak English, or at least speak English well, following the 2011 Census, which was the first to ask respondents about their main language and proficiency in English. The analysis takes a corpus-assisted approach to critical discourse analysis, based on a 1.8 million-word corpus of right-leaning newspaper articles about ‘speak(ing) English’ in the years following this historic Census (2011 to 2016). The analysis reveals the tendency for the press to focus on immigrants – particularly in the contexts of education and health – who are represented with recourse to a series of argumentation strategies, or ‘topoi’. Over the course of this paper, we argue that these topoi are problematic, as they present paradoxes, obscure the role of the Government in ensuring integration, overlook the difficulties of language learning and cultural assimilation, and generally contribute to a broader anti-immigrant UK media narrative which serves to legitimise exclusionary and discriminatory practices against people from minority linguistic and ethnic backgrounds

    Empowering people to make healthier choices:A critical discourse analysis of the Tackling Obesity policy

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    In response to the heightened risk that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses to the health and lives of people with obesity, in 2020 the U.K. government launched a new package of policies intended to stimulate weight loss among the country’s population. In this article, I present a critical discourse analysis of the policy paper which announced these new measures. I identify the discourses that are used to represent things, people, and processes in this policy text. These discourses are interpreted in terms of broadly neoliberal ideologies of public health management. Taken together, the discourses identified contribute to a broadly neoliberal ideology of public health management. It is argued that the policy paper represents an instance of “lifestyle drift,” as it initially appears to engage with social and economic determinants of health but ultimately neglects these in favor of focusing on individual lifestyle factors, particularly in the shape of individuals’ “choices.

    Insulin restriction, medicalisation and the Internet:A corpus-assisted study of diabulimia discourse in online support groups

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    Diabulimia is a contested eating disorder characterised by the deliberate restriction of insulin by people with type 1 diabetes in order to lose and control their body weight. This article reports the first discourse-based study of diabulimia. It employs a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques afforded by corpus linguistics, a methodology for examining extensive collections of digitised language data, to interrogate the discourse surrounding diabulimia in an approx. 120,000-word collection of messages posted to three English-speaking online diabetes support groups. The analysis shows how, despite lacking official disease status, diabulimia was nonetheless linguistically constructed by the support group contributors as if it were a medically-legitimate mental illness. This article explores some of the consequences that such medicalising conceptions are likely to have for people experiencing diabulimia, as well as their implications for health professionals caring for people presenting with this emerging health concern in the future

    ‘Lose weight, save the NHS’:Discourses of obesity in press coverage of COVID-19

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    This article examines the discourses that are used by the British press to represent obesity in its coverage of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Obesity is understood to be a risk factor for COVID-19, with people with obesity being more likely to die from the virus. This study adopts a corpus-based approach to Critical Discourse Studies and utilises a novel approach to keyword analysis, based on comparing analysis corpora against two reference corpora in order to yield keywords that are, in this case, characteristic compared to general coverage of both COVID-19 and obesity. It is argued that the context of the pandemic has produced a range of discourses around obesity that are more stigmatising than usual in both the tabloids and the broadsheets, with people with obesity being construed, for example, in especially fatalistic terms and as being responsible for the problems facing the country’s healthcare system. At the same time, the pandemic context also seems to have given rise to some more positive changes to press coverage of obesity, with race-related health disparities receiving more focus than usual and the right-leaning press being more likely to critique the Conservative Government than it usually is, resulting in an arguably more balanced style of reporting

    Looking through dementia:what do commercial stock images tell us about aging and cognitive decline?

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    Commercial stock images are existing, artificially constructed visuals used by businesses and media outlets to articulate certain values, assumptions and beliefs. Despite their pervasiveness and accessibility, little is known about the ways in which stock images communicate meanings relating to health and illness. This study examines a broad range of common stock images that depict dementia and aging, revealing the tendency for older people with dementia to be represented in objectifying and de-humanizing terms—emphasizing disease and deficit at the expense of the whole person, whereas precluding any possibility of enduring personhood. As well as introducing a multimodal critical discourse approach that can be adopted by other researchers examining the ideological underpinnings of health and illness imagery, this study underscores the importance of critically interrogating stock photography—a much neglected, yet profoundly influential, cultural resource that can shape the ways we think about and respond to illness and disease

    The discursive construction of diabulimia: a corpus linguistic examination of online health communication

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    This study is the first of its kind to examine the discursive construction of diabulimia. Diabulimia is a contested disease characterised by the deliberate restriction of insulin dosage by people with insulin-dependent diabetes in order to control their weight. The analysis takes a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative corpus linguistic techniques with qualitative discourse analytic methods to examine how diabulimia is discursively constructed in three English-speaking diabetes internet fora. By examining the discursive construction of diabulimia in this context, this study explores this emerging health phenomenon from the perspectives of those individuals who, in many cases, have lived, first-hand experience of it. The corpus analysis reveals the discursive construction of diabulimia in this context to be deeply influenced by medicalisation and the neoliberal imperative of autonomous diabetes self-management. Individuals with diabetes who restrict their insulin dosage to control their weight are likely to articulate their experiences and concerns using decidedly medicalising language, construing these experiences as the symptoms of a disease (diabulimia). It is also found that the demands of diabetes self-management figure in and shape individuals’ experiences and understandings of diabulimia in varying and conflicting ways. By providing novel insight into subjective experiences and understandings of diabulimia, the findings reported in this study give voice to those individuals affected by it, findings which also bear important implications for health care practitioners likely to encounter such individuals in the future

    Opening up the NHS to market:using multimodal critical discourse analysis to examine the ongoing corporatisation of health care communication

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    Since its implementation, the British Government’s controversial 2013 Health and Social Care Act has had far-reaching effects on English health care provision, not least the creation of 212 regional practitioner-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which are now responsible for much of the service provision across the country. Taking as an example the website of one of these new commissioning groups, this study shows that multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) can reveal how health and social care matters are being increasingly framed within a corporate and neoliberal set of ideas, values, identities and social relations. Despite government assurances that the Act preserves the (non-commercial) founding values of the NHS, our MCDA provides textual evidence of the influence of neoliberal and commercial discourses operating across CCG websites, which appear to prioritise corporate rather than the practical, day-to-day concerns of patients
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