The changing discourses on antisemitism in the UK press from 1993 to 2009
A modern-diachronic corpus-assisted discourse study
This paper examines the discourses relating to antisemitism in the three leading UK national “quality” newspapers from 1993 to 2009. To this end, three corpora were compiled, each consisting of the complete set of instances in context in these papers where antisemitism is mentioned, the first from 1993 the others from 2005 and 2009. Considerable changes were noted between the discourses in the earlier corpus compared to the later ones. In the first, the majority of discourses were either historical and/or literary-artistic (typically discussing whether a particular writer or artist had been antisemitic) or, if they were related to contemporary society, they were discussions of potential or reported antisemitism outside the UK, especially in Eastern Europe. In the later corpora, however, there is much more discussion about a perceived resurgence of antisemitism in the UK and Western Europe. After an overview of these changing patterns, particularly controversial recent cases of alleged antisemitism in British politics are discussed. The methodology of this research combines corpus-analysis techniques with more traditional close textual analysis, characteristic of corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS: Stubbs 1996, Partington 2008).
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