Amy Quinn

In the News and Against the Norm: The role of queer discourses in 1980s Irish news publications within public contestations of dominant ideologies.

“Where there is power, there is resistance.”
― Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 1976.
This thesis examines queer sexuality’s relationship with newsprint media during a contentious decade in the secularisation of the Republic of Ireland. The ways in which queer identities are narrated in newspapers yield significant influence over public opinion of these minority populations. Events of the eighties, including AIDS, the campaign for homosexual law reform, and violence against gays, brought homosexuality to the front pages, and ignited novel debates of prevailing conservative values that reflected the changing social landscape of Catholic Ireland. This thesis conducts a discourse analysis of a specific sample of news articles published between 1980 and 1990 and takes a Foucauldian perspective in analysing the way in which queerness was classified within institutionalised power structures and how it resisted these forces. The research finds that mainstream news publications exemplified the dynamic nature of the 1980s progressive movement, while alternative news medias provided platforms for this progression. The thesis concludes by recommending future in-depth research into this investigation that was beyond the scope of this project.