Loughborough University
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Monarchy in the mirror: a social psychological study of press representations

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posted on 2010-11-09, 11:30 authored by Nigel Edley
Very little academic work has focused upon the British monarchy/ Royal Family and its significance for the people of Britain. However, of the more recent pieces of work on the subject, several have emphasized the ideological impact of the institution (Coward, 1984; Williamson, 1986; Billig, 1990). This is an emphasis which similarly characterizes the present study. Indeed a substantial part of this thesis is taken up with a theoretical discussion about the nature of ideology itself. Following Barthes (1982), I argue that the relationship between a culture/ ideology and its practitioners is paradoxical. Each is simultaneously the master and slave of the other. There are four empirical chapters contained within this volume, the first of which is a quantitative account of popular press representations of monarchy. The other three empirical chapters are, in part, an investigation and illustration of the paradoxical nature of culture/ideology. Drawing predominantly from a three-month sample of Royal-related newspaper items (29th Nov. 1987–29th Feb. 1988) the first shows how various cultural/ ideological themes or discourses determine or give form to the texts. In the second I examine the ways in which similar themes are used constructively in the production of accounts which accomplish a variety of rhetorical, political and ideological 'moves'. These themes are also present within the fourth empirical chapter in which I examine some of the ideological work done via the representation of the Royals as ordinary, extraordinary and 'superordinary' beings. Chapters 6 and 7 also serve to reveal something of the nature of two subject matter categories as defined in Chapter 4. In the final chapter I take issue with certain aspects of the present study's own theoretical and methodological bases.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Nigel Edley

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en