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Representations of Ageing and Infertility in the Twenty-First-Century British Press

  • Virpi Ylänne
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter looks at representations of postmenopausal reproduction and infertility in the twenty-first-century UK press. The analysis uses Media Framing Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis and a social constructionist orientation to age(ing) and lifespan identity as theoretical frameworks. The focus is on female ageing and infertility as portrayed in a corpus of 30 British tabloid and broadsheet newspaper articles (2000–14). The articles feature famous recent cases of postmenopausal mothers: Sandra Lennon, Susan Tollefsen, Elizabeth Adeney, and Patricia Rashbrook. The microanalysis involves the identification of various framing devices, such as headlines, adjectives, and other descriptors associated with the characters, and centres on the concept of agency. It aims to uncover whether (and if so, how) the articles promote postmenopausal reproduction as an opportunity facilitated by modern medicine or, alternatively, as a threat to societal and lifespan structures. Discourses and framings of older mothers as marginalized ‘others’ are explored.

Keywords

Ageing Agency Critical discourse analysis Media framing analysis Postmenopausal 

Research Resources

Primary Sources

    Databases for Accessing (UK) Newspaper Articles

    1. Nexis (or LexisNexis): https://www.nexis.com/
    2. British Library Newspaper Archive (subscription-only): www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
    3. Several UK newspapers have online versions, too.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

    On Media Framing Analysis

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    On Critical Discourse Analysis

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    1. Mike Featherstone and Andrew Wernick (eds), Images of Aging: Cultural Representations of Later Life (London: Routledge, 1995).Google Scholar
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    6. Virpi Ylänne, ‘Too Old to Parent? Representations of Late Parenting in the British Press’, Discourse & Communication, 10:2 (2016), 176–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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