Coming out of the closet "six feet under": textual silences and the social construction of the family stage in the obituary genres


  • Isabel Corona Marzol



Necrologías, Familia, Prensa, Análisis crítico del discurso, Etnolingüística, Estados Unidos, Reino Unido


The 'Family' stage -the lines devoted to the surviving members of the deceased's family- is a 'constant element' (Hasan 1985) in obituaries. The present study is built up around the structural analysis of genres as developed by Bhatia (1993, 2004), Hasan (1985), Martin (1985, 1992), and Swales (1990). The purpose of this study is to bring a social explanation or understanding to bear on the textual description of the 'Family' stage from a corpus of obituaries published in more than two hundred American and British newspapers collected over a period of three years. The research process has developed two more steps. First, following Huckin's (2004) notion of content analysis, quantitative and qualitative modes have been applied, trying to identify the content which is not manifest. Secondly, the identification of 'textual silences' (Huckin 2002) is followed by an exploratory ethnographic analysis (Scollon 1998) on two case studies. This multi-staged analysis is aimed at a more comprehensive account of the obituary genre as a social process (Kress 1993). It shall be argued that the 'Family' stage encapsulates one of the most controversial topics of our time.



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How to Cite

Corona Marzol, Isabel. 2006. “Coming Out of the Closet ‘six Feet under’: Textual Silences and the Social Construction of the Family Stage in the Obituary Genres”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 19 (November):67-82.