© 2016

Language and Crime

Constructing Offenders and Victims in Newspaper Reports

  • Explores how offenders are represented in the media and how a story is constructed around their crimes

  • Bridges the gaps between linguistics and criminology by examining the media landscape in Britain

  • Uses Critical Stylistics to explore all aspects of the presentation of criminals and victims in newspaper press articles


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Ulrike Tabbert
    Pages 1-25
  3. Ulrike Tabbert
    Pages 27-42
  4. Ulrike Tabbert
    Pages 43-80
  5. Ulrike Tabbert
    Pages 157-175
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 201-239

About this book


This book offers a systematic introduction to the linguistic analysis of newspaper reports on crime. The author demonstrates how the linguistic analysis of newspaper texts helps to gain insight into the construction of offenders and victims in those texts and links the findings to criminological frameworks. Tabbert employs Critical Stylistics to explore the description of participants, the presentation of speech as well as actions, states or events, and other linguistic devices employed by journalists to present a particular image of an offender or a victim in the press. This book shows the fruitfulness of an interdisciplinary approach to reveal predominant discourse on crime in society and will be of great interest to researchers in linguistics, criminology and media studies.


criminology linguistics media studies social science sociolinguistics The Guardian Critical Stylistics discourse analysis

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Visiting Research FellowUniversity of HuddersfieldUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Ulrike Tabbert is a Senior Public Prosecutor (Oberamtsanwältin) at a German prosecution office as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, UK. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Huddersfield and is the author of Crime and Corpus: The linguistic representation of crime in the press (2015).

Bibliographic information


“This is an imaginative and creative approach to analysing the newsworthyness' of crime. … Dr. Tabbert offers an accessible and engaging critical account of the various elements involved in the production of reported crime in the press and shows clearly and systematically the way social values and norms around serious crime and victimisation are reinforced in subtle yet persuasive forms. It is extremely well written, lucid, concise but thorough in the linguistic analysis of the reporting of crime, it offers a distinctive and unique approach to understanding the social construction of crime. It would be of immense interest to linguists, criminologists, as well as those interested in journalism and media studies.” (Tom Considine, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield, UK)

“This linguistic study of crime reporting in the online edition of The Guardian gives the text its rightful priority of place and successfully demonstrates the benefits of an analysis using critical stylistic tools in order to explore the textual construction of victims and offenders, and the linguistic relationships between text and ideology. This book will be of special interest to criminologists, as well as discourse analysts.” (Brian Walker, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield, UK)