Publication details

Reference to Normality as a Way of Asserting Ingroup Membership: The Woodward Case in the Media

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Year of publication 2009
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The article is concerned with the construction of in-groups and out-groups in the context of social categorization. Analysing media material from the Louise Woodward trial, it notes how the positive legitimating value of normality is used as a strategy of positive presentation, thus creating a favourable public opinion on the individual. This is particularly noticeable in the case of media coverage of 'ambiguous' behaviour, i.e. such behaviour that can be interpreted both positively and negatively. For instance, references to emotionality and quietness can be treated negatively by the media as manifestations of, e.g., hysteria (emotional instability) and insensitivity (absence of sympathy adn emotiveness). In the case under analysis, these features of behaviour and character were interpreted positively as signs of the strength of her character and as a proof of her normality.
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