Baker – Hate speech on the down-low: Jan Moir, Stephen Gately and the Daily Mail

The FORGE is pleased to announce our upcoming internal speaker: Prof Paul Baker (Linguistics & English Language). Details of his talk are below:

Hate speech on the down-low: Jan Moir, Stephen Gately and the Daily Mail

This talk is concerned with the analysis of an opinion article about the death of pop star Stephen Gately published in the The Daily Mail on 23 October 2009. The article received the highest number of complaints to the Press Complaints Commission (over 25,000) ever recorded, with many people claiming that the author, Jan Moir, was homophobic, although the complaints were not upheld. A linguistic analysis reveals that while the article contains no clear-cut uses of homophobic language there are some ambiguous statements which could be interpreted in multiple ways. However, by complementing the linguistic analysis with a wider-ranging context-based analysis, including reference to discourse prosodies via the British National Corpus, social attitudes research, other Mail articles, the Press Complaints Commission guidelines and audience reception, I hope to show that a convincing argument can be made that the article probably was homophobic. In terms of making a case for the presence of “hate speech”, I argue then that we must go beyond the words in texts, to consider how they are positioned within social context.

1400-1500, Thu 20th Nov, County South C89 (Meeting Room 7)

Lancaster University staff members and students are welcome to attend.