Invitation: Department of English Distinguished Lecture Series – “News media representation of growing inequality in the UK: undertaking a CDA study using corpus linguistic methods” by Prof. Michael Toolan, University of Birmingham, Britain


20 Jan 2016





My talk will report on my ongoing research on how the Daily Mail and the London Times have represented wealth inequality in the UK, across the forty years from 1971 to 2011.  Over that period, inequality has grown significantly: is there evidence in the newspapers to suggest that what was reported, and how it was reported, shifted accordingly across the decades, and shifted not merely to report completed changes but also to foster changed attitudes?  My speculation, in a CDA spirit, is that the Mail and the Times may have done some of the later, thereby ‘normalising’ current levels of inequality as reasonable, unavoidable, and necessary.  The research challenge is then to present evidence of these shifts and naturalisings, and this in turn presents methodological difficulties.  I will discuss these matters, and share some data and initial findings.



Professor Toolan earned a four-year MA degree in English Language and Literature from Edinburgh University; from there he went to St John’s College, Oxford, and completed a DPhil on William Faulkner’s style. Then for six years he taught at the National University of Singapore, followed by nine years, latterly with tenure, at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Professor Toolan came to the University of Birmingham English department in 1996, attracted by the lively community of English language researchers working here.  He has long nurtured a secondary interest in law and the power of language in all kinds of legal proceedings, and this led him to complete the Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies in 2000.

Since 2002 Professor Toolan has been editor of the Journal of Literary Semantics and is currently President of the International Association for Literary Semantics. He is also quite involved in Integrational linguistics.


All are welcome




FAH - Department of English
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