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Diana's Mourning A People's History by James Thomas

Diana's Mourning A People's History


Diana's Mourning A People's History by James Thomas

In the week following the death of Princess Diana, the media presented images of the entire British nation united in tearful hysterical grief to mourn their 'People's Princess'. However, despite this emphasis on the response of the 'people', their has so far been no detailed examination of popular attitudes or media coverage during September 1997. James Thomas radically challenges the myths surrounding the mourning with the first ever 'people's history' of the week. He combines a detailed survey of media coverage with analysis of a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence about popular attitudes, especially those of the 'ordinary' people across Britain who recorded their views and actions for the Mass-Observation of Britain project. 'Diana's Mourning' provides fascinating evidence of the diversity, complexity and ambiguity of popular reactions to Diana's death, and demonstrates that far from being united, the British people were in fact deeply divided in grief in September 1997. It not only questions the accuracy of media representations of popular opinion, but also illustrates the media's power to influence attitudes and shape the myth of a nation in mourning.


' ...Diana's Mourning proves to be a lively, thoughtful text urging us to embrace the difference, contradiction and complexity of popular responses to the death. Importantly, Thomas writes with sensitivity and avoids the pitfalls of sentimentality and/or sneering. Moreover, it is a welcome addition to the cultural and social history of monarchy and celebrity and, notably, to the significance or the media in shaping our understanding of news and nation ... '
(Contemporary British History 2003 )

About the Author

Dr James Thomas is a Senior Research Associate at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University. He has published widely on the British mass media, and is the author of the forthcoming The Popular Press and British Politics Since 1945.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th October 2002


James Thomas

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University of Wales Press


208 pages


Media studies

Sociology: death & dying



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