Poole, EA and Williamson, M (2021) Disrupting or reconfiguring racist narratives about Muslims? The representation of British Muslims during the Covid crisis. Journalism. ISSN 1464-8849

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This article examines British newspaper coverage of Muslims during the first wave of the Coronavirus crisis. A well-established trajectory of research shows that Muslims are negativized in mainstream media representation in the UK. However, it became obvious from the outset of the pandemic, that ethnic minority key workers were disproportionately affected by Coronavirus. This, alongside high levels of support for NHS staff, had the potential to challenge and shift established narratives about Muslims as questions of structural discrimination became the subject of news media discourse. This article examines whether these events were able, even momentarily, to disrupt dominant narratives about Muslims in the UK or whether the pandemic provided further opportunity for Othering discourses to be perpetuated. In the context of a tumultuous political landscape, where the politics of immigration have been linked to the politics of austerity, Muslims have been scapegoated as a threat to the nationalist project. In this context, the identifier ‘Muslim’ is only deemed relevant if it signifies ‘difference’, or to distinguish between good versus bad Muslim/immigrant. Hence, in the context of the reporting of Coronavirus, racist discourses have been reshaped as Muslim key workers are distinguished in the reporting from other Muslims. We examine how these representational practices play out through an analysis of four British newspapers (The Sun, Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Mirror) over a months’ coverage at the peak of the crisis (April, 2020).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Uncontrolled Keywords: British Muslims; coronavirus; Covid; ethnic minorities; Islam; Media representation; Muslims; news; news discourse; UK newspapers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 10:10
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 14:06
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9808

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