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Representations of contemporary feminist protest in Germany and the UK

Payne, S. (2018) Representations of contemporary feminist protest in Germany and the UK. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis is situated within the increasing visibility of feminism in the public sphere in Germany and the UK. Case studies of three contemporary feminist groups, representing two forms of protest, comprise this study: FEMEN, an exclusive group who perform topless public protests across Europe; #aufschrei, an online anti-sexism campaign in Germany; and the Everyday Sexism Project, another online anti-sexism campaign in the UK which was a precursor to #aufschrei. I have selected texts from three different locations from the year 2013: self-representation online, including FEMEN’s reporting on their protests and the stories of sexism shared on the hashtag feminist groups’ websites; mainstream news media representation via online articles from four major newspapers per country, with a range of left and right-leaning and tabloid and broadsheet newspapers; and the discussion forum comments from these online news articles, which provide a view into more ‘general public’ discourse. The aim of this study is not to provide a comparison across countries or media types, but to explore the ways that feminist protest is represented in different locations: how is it constructed and legitimated by the groups themselves? How is it negotiated, supported or rejected in the news media and discussion forum comments? I work with a theoretical framework provided by Discourse Theory and linguistic analytical tools from CDA, namely, social actor theory and contextually constructed opposition. Discourse Theory is well-suited to understanding the construction of identity and conflict, a feature of much of feminist discursive terrain, but it lacks analytical tools for detailed linguistic research. Therefore, as well as providing knowledge about representations of contemporary feminist protest, this study also provides a contribution to developing the methodological rigour of Discourse Theory.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Schroeter, M. and Ylänne, V.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies
ID Code:83506

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