Homophobic and non homophobic aggression: Examining its portrayal in print media 1

Philip Birch, Rebecca Ozanne, Jane L. Ireland

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The media, as a social institution, plays a role in creating an understanding of the social world (e.g. Reese, Gandy, & Grant, 2001). This chapter considers how media representation of homophobic aggression can affect levels of homophobia within society and therefore argues that the media has a role to play in both reducing and preventing this form of discrimination. Beginning by offering an understanding of the term homophobia and considering different types of homophobic aggression, this chapter then moves on to examine how homosexual aggression is portrayed in the media. Empirical data is presented, in the form of media reports relating to homophobic and non-homophobic aggression, which illustrate some differences in the way these reports are presented. Utilising a new and innovative qualitative research method, an Integrated Grounded Behavioural Linguistic Inquiry (IGBLI) approach, newspaper articles from four daily newspapers in circulation within the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia are examined. This cross-cultural examination illustrates differences in the themes contained in reports of homophobic aggression when compared to reports of non-homophobic aggression. Despite this, there were similarities in the ways in which reports were written and in the level of information provided regarding the underlying causes of aggression. This chapter concludes by reflecting on the duty the media has as a recognised social institution (e.g. Silverblatt, 2004), to ensure it does not adversely contribute to discrimination faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge international handbook of human aggression
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent issues and perspectives
EditorsJane L. Ireland, Philip Birch, Carol A. Ireland
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315618777
ISBN (Print)9781138668188
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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