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TitleNewspaper headlines: a methodological framework for research into representations of children at risk
Author(s)Ramos, Rui Lima
Martins, Paula Cristina
Pereira, Sara
Oliveira, Madalena
Discourse analysis
Issue date2009
PublisherLeiden University
CitationINTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE RHETORIC IN SOCIETY, 2, Leiden, Holanda, 2009 – “Rhetoric in Society.” [Leiden : Leiden University, 2009].
Abstract(s)This paper aims to present some early results from an ongoing project named «Representations of Childhood - media discourses on children at risk». This multi-discipline research project, focused on children at risk, is conducted under the auspices of the Centre for Child Studies at the University of Minho, in Portugal, and funded by the Science and Technology Foundation (PTDC/CCI/64130/2006). It examines how this issue is portrayed on the media in terms of coverage and the kind of language used in relation to the issue, as a process of social construction (Searle, 1998). The methodology involves both quantitative and qualitative analysis of a variety media sources. Data here presented are based on the discourse analysis of the headlines of four Portuguese newspapers, during the first semester of 2008. Using the concept of interpretative repertoire, introduced by J. Potter and M. Wetherell (1987), we will explore the ways in which newspapers make use of linguistic devices (clusters of terms, descriptions and other rhetoric strategies) to construct their understanding of children at risk. The choice of headings is supported by theoretical as well as empirical reasons. Headlines belong to what Charaudeau has designed as “la titraille” (1997:223) or, according to Adam, the “peritext” (1977: 5); they can be viewed as brief narratives and evoke the argumentative dimension which is associated to them (Revaz, 1997). As Christine Develotte and Elizabeth Rechniewski (2003) stress, headlines are likely to have more impact rather than articles themselves, due to their formal and linguistic features. Besides, due to their cataphoric nature, headlines are powerful devices that direct the reader's interpretation of the “facts” they refer to. Finally, the ways headlines are constructed and understood involve cultural knowledge, a dimension particularly relevant for this study. We conclude with some remarks on the social implications of this topic.
TypeConference paper
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Comunicações / Communications
DCILM - Comunicações

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