Collocation and Emotions in the Context of Austerity in British Newspapers

Ha, Fong Wa orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7728-1141 (2020) Collocation and Emotions in the Context of Austerity in British Newspapers. In: Multimodal Approaches to Media Discourses Reconstructing the Age of Austerity in the United Kingdom. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY, pp. 88-109. ISBN 9780367332891

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


Austerity is a complex social phenomenon which has significant effects on the society (Curl and Kearns 2015; Tepe-Belfrage and Wallin 2016). Stud-ies have been conducted to explore emotions towards austerity measures from various perspectives. For example, Clark (2014) and Basu and Stuckler (2012) look at emotions of austerity in terms of health and social bonds; Colley (2012) investigates emotions of public service workers in the UK; Clayton, Donovan and Merchant (2015) study the caring and community-orientated occupations under austerity in North East England. Regarding the mode of austerity emotions, most studies find negative emotions toward austerity. For example, Galais and Lorenzini (2017) find that crisis-related grievances trigger negative emotions (i.e., anger and anxiety) and boosted protests in Spain after the financial crisis in 2008; Colley (2012) reports suf-fering of emotions among youth support workers in the UK. Nevertheless, the study of Chryssochoou, Papastamou and Prodromitis (2013) on Greek people’s emotions on the severe austerity measures nevertheless reveal the co-existence of negative emotions (i.e., fear, frustration, anger and so on) and positive emotions (i.e., trust, solidarity, optimism and so on) in the eco-nomic crisis in Greece. Emotions of austerity in the British newspapers from a linguistic perspective, however, have yet to be explored. This is regrettablebecause it is a common conception that emotions are often communicated through language, both in writing and speaking (Harré 1986). This chapter thus aims at investigating the mode and patterns in the austerity newspaper discourse.The first part of the chapter will discuss the theoretical and methodological approach taken to study emotions of austerity. Given the fuzzy nature of affect or emotion words and in order to reduce the risk of missing emotion words in a big corpus, the present study takes a broad view in what should be regarded as emotion words: words that express emotions directly or denote/evoke emo-tions. Amixed-method approach of quantitative and qualitative analyses was applied to target positive and negative lexical items of emotion as well as their collocational behaviour in the common newspaper corpus (AuBriN).
Collocation and Emotions89corpus linguistic tool, LancsBox (Brezina etal. 2018), was used to identify the lexical items of emotion in the common corpus, by selecting manually posi-tive and negative emotional lexis from collocates of the node word “austerity”. LancsBox is a powerful program which incorporates a system for the genera-tion of collocational networks. Concordance lines of the positive and negative lexical items of emotion were examined qualitatively to enable an in-depth, in-context realisation of the uses of emotional lexis in the corpus. To take this research into further depth, collocates of emotion between the discourse of a right-leaning newspaper (The Daily Telegraph) and a left-leaning newspaper (The Guardian) were compared.Building on this, the empirical part of the chapter reveals that emotions in the austerity newspaper corpus are exclusively negative. Negative emo-tions are more linked to the EU austerity than the UK one in both British newspapers, of which the right-leaning newspaper (The Daily Telegraph) has a stronger tendency to link negative emotions to the EU via austerity. There are nevertheless a few instances where positive attitudes are embedded in the negative emotions of austerity. These positive aspects (i.e., defending auster-ity or expecting a better future despite the current suffering from austerity) are more linked to the UK austerity in both newspapers. As negative emotions about austerity in the UK appear to be more specific with regard to the ques-tions of 1) who is to blame for austerity and 2) who experiences emotions, the UK will be the focus of the analysis in this chapter. Individual politicians and the government are blamed for austerity in the UK. The Guardian tends to blame individual politicians, and The Daily Telegraph blames the govern-ment more. Although the disadvantaged, vulnerable groups in the UK have the highest overall percentage of negative emotions to austerity, they only appear in the left-leaning newspaper (The Guardian). The right-leaning newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, focuses more on businesses and industries with austerity negativities.

Repository Staff Only: item control page