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Examining myths of the mad, bad and sad British veteran in today's media: a qualitative approach.

Phillips, Rita; Connelly, Vince; Burgess, Mark

Authors

Vince Connelly

Mark Burgess



Abstract

Previous research on British public perceptions of UK veterans has focused mainly on opinion polls and survey data. This is problematic, as the broader scope of public dialogue and discourse that informs and influences public perceptions of veterans remains largely unaddressed. To evaluate how the media frames British veterans, this study systematically assesses media discourse regarding UK Armed Forces veterans. An inductively-driven thematic content analysis of 335 newspaper articles indicates that the media frames veterans in predominantly heroic ways: Veterans are heroized by their actions during deployment, the actions of their present life, or from the growth they have experienced from their status as victims. Representations of veterans in such victimized contexts include their suffering from the costs of war, from institutional injustices and social callousness, as well as from their desperation for assistance from charitable organisations. We find that UK veterans are framed by the media in overly positive or negative terms and that factual information on them remains largely ignored. Such depictions may have negative consequences for veterans' reintegration into civilian society.

Citation

PHILLIPS, R., CONNELLY, V. and BURGESS, M. [2021]. Examining myths of the mad, bad and sad British veteran in today's media: a qualitative approach. Journal of political and military sociology [online] (accepted).

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2021
Journal Journal of political and military sociology
Print ISSN 0047-2697
Electronic ISSN 2642-2190
Publisher University of Florida Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Veterans and society; Veterans in the media; Media and society; Veteran psychology
Public URL https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1538002

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