Still something of a boys' club? Representations of women motor racing drivers in British newspapers between 2010 and 2020

Campbell, Desiree (2023) Still something of a boys' club? Representations of women motor racing drivers in British newspapers between 2010 and 2020. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Since its inception in the 1890s, motorsport has grown into a global multi-billiondollar industry (Henry et al., 2007). Although it is one of only a few sports where women can compete directly against men, motorsport is often regarded as a boys’ club (FIA, 2021c). Despite this and the sport’s global appeal, little academic research has focused on women racing drivers within the extensive body of research on the media's representations of sportswomen.

This thesis investigates the coverage and reporting of women racing drivers in British newspapers between 2010 and 2020. In so doing, it (i) provides an understanding of how women racing drivers were represented compared to their male peers during that period; (ii) explores the rationales for how articles about women racing drivers are written from the perspectives of motorsport journalists, and (iii) examines women racing drivers’ interactions with the media and their perspectives on the media’s representations of women racing drivers. The research employs a mixed-methods approach (qualitative and quantitative) comprising of a media analysis of six British national newspapers and their Sunday counterparts and semi-structured interviews with journalists and women racing drivers. Theoretically, the research is grounded in feminist thinking and draws upon the work of Bourdieu (1977; 1984; 1990; 2001) to interpret the qualitative findings thematically.

A mixed picture of the representations of women racing drivers emerges when taking all the qualitative and quantitative findings together. Women racing drivers were marginalised and othered in British newspapers through discursive journalistic practices, themes within the articles and the relative lack of coverage afforded to them. Yet, women racing drivers were also represented as extraordinary and exceptional women. Furthermore, this research suggests that there is modest evidence of emerging trends towards greater equity in how women racing drivers are reported on in terms of article content and volume of coverage. Finally, the findings of the interviews provide useful insights into the themes identified in the articles and rationales for journalistic practices employed in the reporting of women racing drivers. Moreover, the interviews highlight the complexity of the interactions between sport, gender, and the media.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: motorsport, Bourdieu, sports media, sportswomen, feminism
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
P500 Journalism
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2023 08:14
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024 03:30

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