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Professor Michael Toolan (PI) and Dr Eva Maria Gomez-Jimenez (Post-doctoral Fellow) have been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship for the project ‘Tracking Discoursal Shift in News Media Representation of Economic Inequality: Developing and Applying Corpus Linguistic and Critical Discourse Analysis Methods’ (DINEQ).

There is evidence that UK has become a more unequal society over the last 40 years, and few would deny that right-of-centre newspapers will tend to represent socioeconomic issues more approvingly than centre-left ones. DINEQ relies on the idea that over the last 40 years, newspapers like The Times and The Daily Mail have changed how they speak about rich and poor. Parting from this hypothesis, this project joins together Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics to study patterns of usage in the selected media in the 1970s and 2010s, as a response to political and economic changes that have made UK a less egalitarian society today than 40 years before.  

DINEQ project (awarded €183,454) will try to show that a corpus-driven discourse analysis can detect change over time, a change that is so dispersed that is almost imperceptible to the average reader. It will also aim to demonstrate how mass media have a double function (in that they report news but also construe emerging trends), how usage of words, phrases and expressions has changed over time and how diachronic Corpus Linguistics can combine with Critical Discourse Analysis objectives. Though CL and CDA have joined together on many occasions, there are only a few scholars who have done this from a historical perspective. And this is the contribution made by DINEQ to the topic.

As part of the fellowship, Professor Michael Toolan and Dr Eva Maria Gomez-Jimenez will organize a public workshop at a central public building in Birmingham and an international symposium to be held at the University of Birmingham.