Gender and Language, Vol 12, No 3 (2018)

Abjection and condemnation: media representations of a transgender criminal in Brazil

Felipe Leandro de Jesus, Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard
Issued Date: 22 Oct 2018


This study investigates a series of news reports of a well-publicised crime in Brazil where a transgender person was involved and implicitly evaluated and condemned by the semiotic resources used in the reporting of the event. Theoretical tools from critical discourse analysis, systemic functional grammar and multimodal theory are applied to the data in order to investigate how verbal and other semiotic resources interpret the story. The findings point to partiality and manipulation when it comes to supporting one of the sides involved in the crime to the detriment of the transgender social actress. Her nonnormative gender identity is represented as a core part of her criminal identity. Through these representations, the media reinforces bias and reproduces biased discourses against travestis, a community that constitutes a permanent zone of abjection, a process through which those deemed unintelligible are excluded by identificatory regimes to delimit the boundaries of the self.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.33299


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