Race, riots and the press: An analysis of editorials in the British press about the 1985 disorders

  • Van Dijk T
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Abstract

Against the background of earlier work on the structures of news in the press and within the framework of a broader study of the reproduc tion racism in various types of discourse, this paper examines some properties of the British newspaper editorials about the inner city distur bances in 1985. Editorials appear to be structured by three major categories: Definition and Evaluation of the events, and Recommendations or a Moral about actions to be taken to contain or avoid future 'riots'. The disturbances are consistently defined and evaluated as criminal actions of young Afro- Caribbean males, if not blamed on the whole Black community. Socio- economic explanations are rejected in the editorials. The other major actor, viz., the police, on the other hand is represented as the victim, and as the forces of order that deserve respect and support. The results of the, mostly argumentative, analysis are further analyzed in terms of an ideological system of law and order values and a schema for the representation of all participant groups or institutions organized according to the well-known US vs. THEM pair.

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Authors

  • Teun A. Van Dijk

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