Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP5

Report Summary

Project ID: HPSE-CT-1999-00008
Funded under: FP5-HUMAN POTENTIAL
Country: United Kingdom

The social problem of men: Media and newspaper representations

Research.
While in recent years there has been an increasing amount of research on representations of men in the media, there has been relatively little concern with the mundane, everyday media representations of men in newspapers. This workpackage is thus founded on a less firm research base than the previous three workpackages. This opens up many questions for future research on men in newspapers, and men’s relations to newspapers.

Methodology.
The workpackage on media and newspaper representations involved new qualitative and quantitative research that has raised very complex issues of measurement and analysis. In particular, there are major methodological and even epistemological issues in assessing forms of representation to ‘men’, ‘men’s practices’ and ‘masculinities’. This is especially so when a large amount of newspaper reporting is presented in supposedly or apparently ‘gender-neutral’ terms. Men are routinely taken-for-granted and not problematical in the press. Additionally, there are significant sections and genres of reporting, especially around politics, business and sport, that are often ‘all about men’, but without explicitly addressing men in a gendered way. Furthermore, the framework of the four main themes has been to a large extent imposed on the newspaper material surveyed.

Extent of Newspaper Coverage.
While the overall extent of coverage of men, particularly explicit coverage, is relatively small, there is noticeably more coverage in the attention to men in families and, to an extent, gender equality debates are more present in Western European countries, especially Norway and Finland, than in the transitional nations.

Distribution.
The most reported themes were generally Violences, usually followed by Home and Work. Social Exclusion was reported to a variable extent, and it was the most reported theme in Germany and Ireland. Health was generally the least reported theme; this was especially so in the transitional nations, with, for example, no articles in Latvia and only one in Poland. This contrasts with the higher number of articles in, for example, Finland and the UK.

Representations of Violence.
This theme needs special mention as it figured so strongly in some countries. There is often a relatively large amount of reporting of short articles on men’s violence, much of it reported on an individual basis. There are, however, some exceptions to this pattern with limited attention to group, cultural, social, societal, historical and international perspectives.

The Cultural Dimension.
More generally, this Workpackage points to the possibilities for greater attention to the cultural dimension in comparative studies of men and gender relations. Literatures, where attention is given to, for example, cultural repertoires and national discourses could be useful here. The primary research completed by the Network on newspaper articles provides an initial analysis of what could be a much larger project.

Related information

Contact

Keith PRINGLE
Tel.: +44-191-5153238
Fax: +44-191-515-2229
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