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Representations of Gender and Agency in the Harry Potter Series

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Corpora and Discourse Studies

Part of the book series: Palgrave Advances in Language and Linguistics ((PADLL))

Abstract

Gender is an all-pervasive and extremely influential construct in the lives of individuals (Taylor, 2003). In children’s literature, we find a reflection of the attitudes towards gender prevalent in a given society at a particular time (Peterson and Lach, 1990). Therefore the study of how gender is represented in children’s literature can make a useful contribution to our understanding of how choices in language use support particular discourses, ‘broad constitutive systems of meaning’ (Sunderland, 2004: 6) or ‘ways of seeing the world’ (op cit: 28). These representations in turn perpetuate prevailing gendered power relations in that society, as research into children’s literature has shown (Thompson and Sealey, 2007). Corpus Linguistics offers a degree of objectivity and efficiency not possible in manual ideological analysis, as well as a set of tools particularly useful for the lexical analysis of considerable quantities of text. In this chapter, I report on my analysis of gendered discourses in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, focussing on patterns around grammatical agency in the books.

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© 2015 Sally Hunt

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Hunt, S. (2015). Representations of Gender and Agency in the Harry Potter Series. In: Baker, P., McEnery, T. (eds) Corpora and Discourse Studies. Palgrave Advances in Language and Linguistics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137431738_13

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