The linguistic representation of gender violence in (written) media discourse

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‘Woman’ is a key social actor, and a central conceptualization, in the construction of media discourses of gender-based violence. Scholarly research at the turn of the 21st century (Bengoechea 2000; Lledó 2002; Fernández Díaz 2003; Jorge 2004) showed that in the Spanish press, media discourses had a tendency to naturalize male aggression not as violence but as part of the (private) sexual arrangement between the sexes. In this chapter we explore the treatment of the phrase mujer maltratada (EN ‘battered woman’) in intimate partner violence newspaper articles from 2005 to 2010. Our aims are: (i) to account for the discursive representation of violence against women (VAW) in Spanish contemporary media discourse in recent years; and (ii) to unveil the expectations about gender, sexuality and power implicit in public discourses about VAW, given their apparent objectivity. In doing so, we draw on the evaluation framework for the analysis of news reports proposed by White (2004, 2006) and on Corpus Linguistics tools.


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