A linguistic analysis of pre- and since-COVID representations of fuel poverty

30 April 2022

This project concerns public representations of fuel poverty, its causes, and its effects in British National Newspapers, spanning pre- and since-COVID periods. It builds FuelPovTexts, a large linguistic dataset (a corpus) of public fuel poverty discourse, and uses linguistic analysis to offer an insight into public ideologies surrounding fuel poverty, vulnerability, and individual and state accountability. The FuelPovTexts corpus will be made freely available to other fuel poverty researchers. This project runs in tandem with another project, funded by the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, concerning representations of food poverty. As such, this project aims to examine poverty fragmentation and how different forms of deprivation may intersect.

Large linguistic datasets, such as the FuelPovTexts corpus, provide an important resource for understanding the role of language in representing fuel poverty in public discourse. Building a corpus, however, is a very demanding and time-consuming task. The EPEC Grant provides invaluable time and space for the FuelPovTexts corpus to be thoroughly built and for some initial analysis to be conducted on it.  

Leigh Harrington, University of Manchester
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Illustration of linguistic analysis around the term 'fuel poverty'
Report to funder: A linguistic analysis of Pre- and During-COVID representations of fuel poverty in the UK newspaper press (pdf)
Leigh Harrington 2024
Report Summary

Leigh provides an overview of her study, including methodology, findings and implications.