Differentiations and intersections

a corpus-assisted discourse study of gender representations in the British press before, during and after the London Olympics 2012


  • Sylvia Jaworska University of Reading
  • Sally Hunt Rhodes University




gender, sport, media, national identity, race, London Olympics, intersections


This study examines the impact of a global sports event on gender representations in media reporting. Whereas previous research on gender, sport and media has been mainly concerned with sports events in the North American or Australian context, this study investigates the British media reporting before, during and after the London Olympics 2012. Our study follows the approach of Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS) and uses both quantitative and qualitative research procedures. The results reveal more balanced gender representations during the London Olympics in that the ‘regular’ biased associations were supressed in favour of positive references to female achievements. However, little carry-though of the ‘gains’ was noted. Also, this study shows that the positive associations intersected with national sentiments and were used to celebrate the nation-state. At the same time, some subtle resistance was observed to accepting as ‘truly’ British the non-white athletes and those not born in Britain.

Author Biographies

Sylvia Jaworska, University of Reading

Sylvia Jaworska (PhD) is an associate professor in applied linguistics in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading, UK. Her main research interests are discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, and the application of both methods to study language use and gender representations in media and business contexts. She has published widely on these topics in Applied Linguistics, Journal of Pragmatics, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, Corpora, Discourse and Society and Language in Society. 

Sally Hunt, Rhodes University

Sally Hunt (PhD) is an associate professor in English language and linguistics at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. She conducts research combining corpus linguistic methods with critical discourse analysis to investigate issues of gender, sexuality and race in the media, and particularly in children’s literature. 


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How to Cite

Jaworska, S., & Hunt, S. (2017). Differentiations and intersections: a corpus-assisted discourse study of gender representations in the British press before, during and after the London Olympics 2012. Gender and Language, 11(3), 336–364. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.28858