Newcastle Critical Discourse Group

Current Programme

SEMESTER 2 - 2017/18

February 14th

Sarah Hill, Newcastle University

Exploring Disabled Girlhood Through Online Self-representation

ArmB 3.39 1600-1800

March 14th

This seminar has been cancelled due to industrial action. We hope to reschedule this event in the near future.

Ruth Page, University of Birmingham

Collective Identity, Multimodality and Snapchat Live Stories

ARMB 2.09 1600-1800

May 2nd

Chris Roberts, University of Roehampton

'Media Discourse and the ‘common sense’ newsframing of the financial crisis

ARMB 3.39 1600-1800


Sarah Hill

Exploring Disabled Girlhood through Online Self-representation

A growing body of work situates girls’ online self-representation practices within postfeminist discourses of girlhood (Shields Dobson, 2015). However, disabled girls are largely absent from existing work, just as they are often missing from the wider postfeminist media culture, which constructs white, middle-class, able-bodied femininity as the normative ideal. In examining disabled girls’ self-representation practices, this paper aims to contribute to rectifying this absence while also subverting the commonly held notion that girls’ self-representation practices are risky and trivial by demonstrating how these self-representation practices work to elevate the voices of disabled girls within the contemporary mediascape through a ‘politics of visibility’ (Tembeck, 2016: 8), as demonstrated through recent gendered social media campaigns such as #HospitalGlam and #DisabledandCute.

I will explore how disabled girls and young women represent themselves online through a case study of a severely sight impaired blogger, paying particular attention to how they navigate postfeminist discourses through their self-representation practices. Specifically, I argue that in order to be afforded visibility, these disabled girls must present themselves as simultaneously motivated and motivational subjects who ultimately shore up the principles of “neoliberal inclusionism” (Mitchell and Snyder, 2015). 


Sarah Hill is an Early Career Academic Fellow in Media, Culture, Heritage at Newcastle University. She is currently researching disabled girls’ online self-representation practices and her work has appeared in the journal Girlhood Studies. She is also writing her monograph – Young Women in Contemporary Cinema: Gender and Postfeminism in British Film – for I.B. Tauris, which is based on her doctoral research.

Ruth Page

Collective Identity, Multimodality and Snapchat Live Stories

This paper explores the multimodal construction of collective identity in Snapchat live stories.  Live stories are sequences of 10 second video clips recorded through a mobile phone, which are collated by Snap Chat’s team and made publically for 24 hours before being removed from view. The data reported here is a sample of 26 stories (a total of 877 snaps), taken from a larger set of 130 live stories, observed between June 2016 and June 2017, and covers stories about sports events, festivals, concerts and protests. In this paper, we propose a new framework for collective identity, derived from Zappavigna’s (2016) work on individual subjectivity in social photography, arguing that collective identity can be represented, inferred or implied.  This framework refines van Leeuwen’s (2008) distinction between individualisation and assimilation as options for social actors, especially as this sheds light on the emerging genres of the selfie and group selfie. Recognising the highly contextualised interpretation of collective identity, the methods we use address concerns about the subjective nature of multimodal critical discourse analysis (Machin and Mayr, 2012) by providing a stepwise process for annotating audio-visual data that incorporates inter coder reliability tests as a theory-building practice. The results of the analysis are used to explore the forms of citizen journalistic documentation found in Snapchat, and to show how collective identity can be construed positively or negatively, depending on the topic of the story.


Ruth Page is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham.


Chris Roberts

'Media Discourse and the ‘common sense’ newsframing of the financial crisis.

This paper is oriented around the notion that the financial crisis and the subsequent austerity policies have been effectively [re]framed in such a way as to render alternatives and alternative narratives almost impossible to produce. Normative assumptions - what Mark Fisher calls ‘Capitalist Realism’ [2009] – are dominant or almost the only frames of reference for narrating the crisis and ‘solutions’ to said crisis. The question will be posed that, restricted as it is by various normative news values; aesthetics; source relations; resource and time pressures it is in fact not possible to effectively “tell the story” of the financial crisis and its aftermath within the narrow discourses of media and journalism.

This work-in-progress paper seeks to develop a systemic and systematic frame and mode of analysis regarding the media’s narration and explanation of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and the austerity discourse that followed. The paper will examine the ways in which said reporting establishes a mode of address, and establishes a frame through which the crisis was and is understood. Most acute for this paper is the rhetoric, the discourse, the linguistic and lexical choices and the impact this has on the epistemology of the UK political economy. The paper will argue and demand that a wider range of sources, discursive features, and solutions are proposed, and that said solutions or proposals are beyond and not restricted to neoliberal “solutions” to the crisis of its own making.


Chris Roberts is Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Media and Culture at the University of Roehampton.