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“Backlash of the ‘betrayed’ squaddies” : The framing of veteran anti-investigation activism on British news websites

Richards, Hannah K. 2023. “Backlash of the ‘betrayed’ squaddies” : The framing of veteran anti-investigation activism on British news websites. Critical Military Studies 10.1080/23337486.2023.2283642

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This article examines how particular frames of military violence emerge, solidify, and fracture around popular media representations of veteran-led protest in response to the Northern Ireland legacy investigations. Curious about how popular ‘pro-militarist’ media navigate unsettling incidents of extreme and unlawful military violence that anti-activism draws attention to, this article uses a discourse analysis of the news coverage of the activism to interrogate how boundaries, distinct to those of formal legal and truth-seeking mechanisms, between ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ violences, are drawn. Based on an analysis of 372 photographs and their attendant texts from 72 online news articles, I argue that the coverage is organized around an understanding of military violence as natural and necessary, (re)producing a largely untroubled fantasy of a homogenous national community betrayed by the investigation of its ‘squaddies’. In allowing only partial ruptures in an otherwise smooth narrative of military heroism and betrayal by the state, these stories of military transgression inhibit the disruptive potential of state-led investigations by obscuring the violence they supposedly seek to address.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 2333-7494
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 10 November 2023
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2024 16:08

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