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Obesity in the News: Language and Representation in the Press

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Publication date17/11/2021
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages292
ISBN (Electronic)9781108864732
ISBN (Print)9781108818971, 9781108836395
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Obesity is a pressing social issue and a persistently newsworthy topic for the media. This book examines the linguistic representation of obesity in the British press. It combines techniques from corpus linguistics with critical discourse studies to analyse a large corpus of newspaper articles (36 million words) representing ten years of obesity coverage. These articles are studied from a range of methodological perspectives, and analytical themes include variation between newspapers, change over time, diet and exercise, gender and social class. The volume also investigates the language that readers use when responding to obesity representations in the context of online comments. The authors reveal the power of linguistic choices to shame and stigmatise people with obesity, presenting them as irresponsible and morally deviant. Yet the analysis also demonstrates the potential for alternative representations which place greater focus on the role that social and political forces play in this topical health issue.