More than 'whore' : a discourse analysis on the media coverage of the murders of sex trade workers in Edmonton, Canada, 2001-2008

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Larter, Tamara
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology, c2011
Twenty women linked with the sex trade in Edmonton, Canada went missing or were murdered between 2001 and 2008. In this study, I use Foucauldian and feminist theories, via discourse analysis, to examine the ways that Edmonton’s newspapers (re)present these murders. My findings show that the newspapers’ discourse deviantises these women, thereby minimising the tragedy of their disappearances and deaths. This deviantisation is deployed in three ways; by framing sex trade workers as criminally, medically, and morally deviant. Criminal deviance places sex trade workers firmly on the ‘wrong’ side of the law, making them undeserving of police protection; medical deviance implies that only women who are mentally ill in some way would take part in the sex trade, and, simultaneously, hyperbolises the role of sex workers in the spread of venereal diseases. Finally, discourses of moral deviance place sex workers on the ‘wrong’ side of morality and femininity. iv
ix, 126 leaves ; 29 cm
Prostitutes -- Press coverage -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Prostitution -- Press coverage -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Prostitutes -- Crimes against -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Prostitutes -- Violence against -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Victims of crimes -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Murder -- Alberta -- Edmonton , Dissertations, Academic