Journal Article


COVID-19 and 'the public' : UK government discourse and the British political tradition

Abstract

This article presents an original analysis of the U.K. government’s discursive response to COVID-19 across the first six months of the pandemic. Two arguments are made. First, representations of the state/people relationship were vital to the state’s storying and selling of its response to this crisis. And, second, despite populist-style inflections, the state/people relationship was typically constructed around a ‘government knows best’ claim associated with the ‘British Political Tradition’ (BPT). In making these arguments the article offers three contributions: (i) empirical, via an original thematic analysis of over 120 speeches, statements and documents from the U.K. government; (ii) analytical, via a new taxonomy of ways in which ‘the public’ is imagined and represented in political discourse; and (iii) theoretical, via conceptualisation of the flexible and adaptive discourse of the BPT.

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Authors

Finlayson, Alan
Jarvis, Lee
Lister, Michael

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences

Dates

Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-01-06


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


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