When the trails go cold : British press narratives on Maddie

Title: When the trails go cold : British press narratives on Maddie
Author: Ermida, Isabel
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2009, vol. 35, iss. 1, pp. [45]-62
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
The amount and variety of press narratives on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are fertile ground for critical discourse analysis. Not only do they offer ideologically informed representations of the actors involved in the plot, but also of the ethnic-cum-national groups to which they belong. In particular, the British coverage of the story largely focuses on the ensuing police investigation in Portugal, thus putting forth identity portrayals which arguably derive from value judgements. The present paper intends to examine the linguistic and discursive devices which convey marks of subjectivity and alignment, along with preferential portrayals and strategies of othering. Furthermore, it aims at discussing such issues as topic selection, perspective and focalisation, with a view to revealing mechanisms of construction of ethnic difference and alienation. The corpus of analysis is a set of news reports and opinion articles taken from two major UK titles: a quality paper, The Times, and a tabloid, The Sun.
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