Bouncers, brutes and brawn: are bouncers being discriminated against in news reports? A critical discourse analysis

Hayes-Jonkers, Charmaine S. (2015) Bouncers, brutes and brawn: are bouncers being discriminated against in news reports? A critical discourse analysis. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Public perceptions of bouncers have been of thuggish, brutish men who like nothing better than to 'pound people into the pavement' or 'heave people out onto the street'. Arguably, Neanderthal-like perceptions of bouncers have prevailed over time, both in the eyes of the public and the eyes of the news media. Incidents of bouncers being involved in violent encounters, including deaths, have been well documented in the news media; most notably, the death of the Australian cricketer David Hookes in 2004. Links between bouncers, biker gangs and organised crime have also been identified and may well influence public perceptions of bouncers. Alcohol-related violence in the night-time economy is a complex social, cultural and structural problem that has no simple solution. Bouncers occupy a precarious and contradictory position as the protectors and minders of persons and property within the night-time economy.

The news media is a powerful mechanism for influencing, producing and reproducing dominant ideological values and norms in relation to biases, discrimination and racism. This thesis employs a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) perspective and seeks to determine, through an in-depth analysis of news reports and a categorical qualitative analysis, if negative portrayals and discrimination through rhetorical and discursive strategies in the news media contribute to the public perception of bouncers as thugs. CDA seeks to uncover the political and ideological meanings behind talk and text. The aim of this research is to expose the underlying sociopolitical factors that are contributing to the vilification of bouncers in the news media in Australia. A manual, 'deep' qualitative analysis was conducted on 10 randomly selected news reports and 80 reports were analysed using the NVivo 10 qualitative software program.

The manual analysis has indicated that rhetorical and discursive strategies are used in news reports to undermine bouncers' credibility and portray the industry as staffed with violent, undertrained, criminal individuals. Under- and over-statements, metaphors, and metonymic concepts, together with lexical choice, styles and structures are used freely by the news media to vilify, discriminate against and discredit bouncers. Bouncer 'voices' were excluded in news reports and only the 'voices' of credible 'experts' were quoted or 'heard' to legitimate journalists' claims of violent bouncers.

The NVivo analysis showed 809 references to violence in the 80 news reports, with 233 'experts' cited or quoted in the text. There were 130 political abstractions and generalisations and 61 references to criminality. There were also 307 references to power being exerted over bouncers and 519 organisations mentioned in the text. Collectively, industry 'experts' distanced themselves from bouncers involved in violence and the bouncers responsible were 'blamed' for the violence, which supports the political ideology of responsibilisation. It is proposed that lack of state authority, low social status and working in an industry described as 'dirty work' contribute to social perceptions of bouncers as violent thugs.

Item ID: 43775
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: bouncers; CDA; coolers; critical discourse analysis; door supervisors; doormen; language; news media; security guards; social discourse; social perceptions; stereotypes; stereotyping
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 01:48
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1602 Criminology > 160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1602 Criminology > 160206 Private Policing and Security Services @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory @ 34%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media @ 33%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940405 Law Reform @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960702 Consumption Patterns, Population Issues and the Environment @ 34%
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