Hierarchies of wounding: Media framings of ‘combat’ and ‘non-combat’ injury

January, 2020

This article explores the representation of military injury in British newspapers.


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.

Full Reference

Caddick, N., Cooper, L., Godier-McBard, L. and Fossey, M., 2020. Hierarchies of wounding: Media framings of ‘combat’ and ‘non-combat’ injury. Available at: <>.

Report a problem with this article