One of the most significant current discussions in discourse studies is the media representation of socially disadvantaged groups (KhosraviNik, 2009; Baker et al., 2008; van Dijk, 1991). The aim of this study is to examine the Irish media’s attitude towards Irish Travellers who have been pushed to the fringes of society with allegations that their nomadic lifestyle is incompatible with industrialised Irish society (Moore, 2012; van Hout, 2011; McVeigh, 1997). The dataset for this paper is comprised of newspaper texts from The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and The Irish Daily Mail printed between January 2012 and September 2014. Data were gathered through the Nexis UK database. Because the newspaper corpora vary greatly in size, the analysis was carried out in two stages. First, corpus software AntConc 3.4.3 (Anthony, 2014) was used to obtain high frequency words in the whole corpus to gain an insight into the discourse topics associated with Travellers. Second, journalistic commentaries from three newspapers on the 2014 Oireachtas report were taken into consideration for the analysis of appraisal resources which show evaluative stance of the writers through attitude, ENGAGEMENT and GRADUATION categories (Martin and White, 2005). Legitimation strategies which were used to justify evaluative stance were also investigated in this stage. The quantitative analysis shows the dominance of attitude categories in all corpora. The liberal Irish Times positively appraised Travellers and the Oireachtas Report, and justified their support for ethnic recognition through a moral evaluation of previous discrimination policies. The politically right-centre Independent and Daily Mail had rather negative attitudes, and they legitimized their opposition through moral evaluation and rationalization grounded upon the stereotypical images associated with Travellers.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.