Diachronic representational change surrounding queer identities in British newspapers between 1976 and 2005

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Phillips, Noel Jason (2014)
  • Subject: HQ0075 | PN4699

This thesis explores the changing use of language in British newspapers that was used to describe queer people, between 1976 and 2005. It brings together a broad spectrum of sociological, linguistic and media theorists to investigate how such change was driven and describe some of the social consequences.\ud \ud The discussion is framed through the analysis of ifferent facets of the queer community’s experience which are being represented in the press over that time frame such as: the closet, queer protest and normalization. Whilst at the same time, aspects of the researcher’s personal biography are woven into the writing to solidify the connections between theory, representation and individual experience. This then is a multi-theoretical study using changing language and representation as a methodology with its heart in media and language studies, sociology, queer studies and history.\ud \ud The research is focused upon newspaper articles taken from national, regional and queer newspapers and each was focused upon as aspect of the queer experience. The main case studies included comparisons between different papers, The Gay News Trial in 1977 and protests concerning section 28 in 1988. Later, it explores power and the closet across the period and ends by utilising articles involving queer youth, queer family and queer professionals.\ud \ud The analysis reveals that we are living in a new Foucaultian episteme; new age with a new spirit this developed out of the protests and campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s which led to a compression upon language driving linguistic change. This compression led the normalization of queer people within society.
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