Edited by Monika Kopytowska
[Benjamins Current Topics 93] 2017
► pp. 171–192
The radicalisation of the May 2013 Woolwich attack in British press reportage
This chapter uses critical stylistics to analyse the British press’s use of the term “terrorism” in their reporting of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside the military barracks in Woolwich, London on 22nd May 2013. It considers academic definitions of “terrorism” and compares these to the use of the term in newspaper reports on the attack. The authors seek to understand how the Woolwich attack is fit into a complex and contested concept such as terrorism. A close reading of a small corpus of national newspaper articles was used to identify common themes in the way the incident is portrayed, with critical stylistic analysis being applied to investigate how the term “terrorism” is used in context. The study highlights how the application of the “terrorism” label is justified within the articles despite the scarcity of information regarding the attack and persons involved at the time of their publication.