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Booing or cheering? Ambiguity in the construction of victimhood in the case of Maria Colwell

Butler, Ian and Drakeford, Mark 2008. Booing or cheering? Ambiguity in the construction of victimhood in the case of Maria Colwell. Crime, Media, Culture 4 (3) , pp. 367-385. 10.1177/1741659008096372

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Abstract

This paper presents a microanalysis of the media representation of victimhood in key public narratives. It builds on Peelo's account of the `mediated witness' as part of the struggle for control of the crime agenda. To extend Peelo's analysis to other areas of public policy making, the paper uses the example of an iconic welfare `scandal' (the Maria Colwell case) and focuses particularly on the role of victims themselves in the struggle to own and exploit victimhood. The paper argues that ambiguity in the ascription of victimhood can reveal points of unresolved tension in the emerging public narrative that the scandal (or crime) is meant to signify, explain and incorporate.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Uncontrolled Keywords: scandal; victimhood; mediated witness; emotionality; welfare policy; child abuse
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1741-6590
Last Modified: 04 May 2016 01:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/19168

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