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Using a corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) approach to investigate constructions of identities in media reporting surrounding mega sport events: the case of the London Olympics 2012

Jaworska, S. ORCID: (2016) Using a corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) approach to investigate constructions of identities in media reporting surrounding mega sport events: the case of the London Olympics 2012. In: Lamond, I. R. and Platt, L. (eds.) Critical Events Studies: Approaches to Research. Leisure Studies in a Global Era. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 149-174. ISBN 9781137523846

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-52386-0_8


The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate how the combination of critical discourse analysis and corpus-linguistic methodology can be used to study global sports events, especially their impact on the representations of identities. The study of media texts around global events, such as the London Olympics and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, can yield important insights into the identities which are ideologically normalised in the reporting of such events, and those which are devalued or excluded. Our study focuses on these two events in particular as the Olympics and the World Cup are regarded as ‘the most dramatic and high profile’ global sports events (Tomlinson & Young, 2006: 1) in that the ‘whole world is watching … the same thing at the same time’ (Rowe, 2003: 284). Media representations generated at these times can be seen to be high-impact reflections of cultural assumptions, tailored to coincide with the expectations and beliefs of the audiences of the mass media. Global sports events are thus prominent representations of not only national ideologies (Kinkema and Harris. MediaSport studies: Key research and emerging issues. In L. A. Wenner (Ed.), MediaSport (pp. 27–54). London: Routledge, 1998), but also of ethnicity and race, as well as gender (Hunt & Jaworska, in press), revealing detailed patterns of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991). In the proposed chapter we demonstrate the synergistic relationship possible in corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) (see Baker, 2008; Baker et al., Discourse and Society, 19(3): 273–306, 2008; Partington, Duguid, & Taylor, Corpora and discourse, a most congruous beast. In A. Partington, J. Morley, & L. Haarman (Eds.), Corpora and discourse (pp. 9–18). Frankfurt/M: Peter La, 2013), showing how systematic linguistic analysis can yield ideological insights whilst resting on a quantitative base of statistically significant relationships and patterns in language use. Our data comprise a corpus of nearly 30 million words, sampled from national newspaper texts published in Britain from 2011 to 2013 and in South Africa (SA) from 2009 to 2012, in order to track the impact of the respective sporting event on media representation, as suggested by McEnery et al. (2013). Both events boosted representations of national unity in the year of the event, but there was little carry through of the gains to the following year. Divisions in terms of race were maintained, especially in the SA context, whilst gendered representations were often positive in the British context.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
ID Code:43261
Uncontrolled Keywords:corpus-assisted discourse studies, sport, media, London Olympics, nation, gender, identities, collocation
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan


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