1st Edition

Representing Schizophrenia in the Media A Corpus-Based Approach to UK Press Coverage

By James Balfour Copyright 2023
    218 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a critical analysis of ways in which schizophrenia and people with schizophrenia are represented in the press. Interrogating a 15-million-word corpus of news articles published by nine UK national newspapers over a 15-year period, the author draws on techniques from corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis to identify the most frequent and salient linguistic features used by journalists to influence and reflect broader public attitudes towards people with schizophrenia. In doing so this book:

    • Evaluates the extent to which media representations are accurate and the extent to which they are potentially helpful or harmful towards people living with schizophrenia;
    • Employs a bottom-up approach guided by linguistic patterns, such as collocates and keywords, identified by corpus software;
    • Contributes to the de-stigmatisation of schizophrenic disorder by unveiling some of the widespread misconceptions surrounding it;
    • Applies a mixed-methods approach in order to expose attitudes and beliefs found ‘between the lines’ – values and assumptions which are often implicit in the way language is used and therefore not visible to the naked eye.

    The findings of this monograph will be relevant to advanced students and researchers of health communication, corpus linguistics and applied linguistics and will also carry importance for journalists and mental health practitioners.

    1. Introduction; 2. Representing schizophrenia in the corpus; 3. Representing schizophrenia in different newspapers; 4. Representing schizophrenia over time; 5. Representing schizophrenia in metaphors; 6. Representing schizophrenia in terms of horror; 7. Representing schizophrenia in terms of blame; 8. Conclusion; 9. Index


    James Balfour is Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Glasgow. He is currently interested in public discourses around mental health, in particular how we use language to understand people who experience psychosis. In his research he promotes language which is accurate and tolerant.