Hierarchies of wounding: media framings of 'combat' and 'non-combat' injury

Nick Caddick, Linda Cooper, Lauren Godier-McBard, Matt Fossey

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we examine the representational practices of British newspapers in relation to forms of military injury. Using critical discourse analysis, we studied the reporting of injuries sustained by military personnel during the height of the UK’s war in Afghanistan in 2009 – and a comparison period five years later – and concluded that representations of injured personnel differed substantially between articles reporting on ‘combat’ and ‘non-combat’ injuries. We argue that the different reporting frames work to construct a moral separation of injuries into ‘heroic’ (combat) and ‘non-heroic’ (non-combat) forms. The consequences of this hierarchization of injury, we suggest, include the reification of ‘combat’ as an idealized form of masculine violence, the privileging of some soldiers and veterans over others as exemplars of national heroism, and elision of the day-to-day realities of military injury from public consciousness. Findings are discussed in relation to broader consequences for understanding heroism and the military.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
Early online date13 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jan 2020


  • Afghanistan
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Heroism
  • Military injury

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