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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


5.8 MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS, Journalism, Social sciences

Publication Details

Irish Communications Review, 13(1), 145-155.


In this article we look at how young men consume coverage of prostitution in Irish newspapers. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the media, and newspapers in particular, seem to be an important source of information for people (Meade, 2008). This is especially true in the case of prostitution, as the only contact the citizenry generally have with sex-workers is through the media (Hallgrimsdottir, Phillips and Benoit, 2006). In many Western countries consuming media is one of the main activities that people, particularly young people, engage in and therefore is the prism through which they view the world (Cushion, 2009: 125). Sex and sexuality is a topic particularly worth exploration because of societal concerns about the role of media in influencing sexuality (McManus and Dorfman, 2005). The study of how the media handles sensitive topics concerned with problematic sexuality has received some attention (Brown, 2002; Stenvoll, 2002) and the issue of sexuality in Ireland has also been addressed (Ferriter, 2009; Inglis, 1998). However, the area of prostitution in Ireland, and its representation in the media, has received less attention. Additionally our utilisation of discourse analysis is unusual, as is the focus on men. We set out to understand some of the key discursive strategies used by young men in framing their discourse in response to newspaper coverage of prostitution. The next section provides a brief overview of societal and media discourses of prostitution. This is followed by a description of the particular methodological choices made in this research. Two prominent ideological dilemmas are then illustrated by the analysis of extracts from the data. Finally, there is a discussion of the interpretations offered and some conclusions are suggested


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