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Continuing the contradictions: A multimodal investigation into the front covers of real-life magazines

Rudge, Luke A.


Luke Rudge
Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics


Studies analysing women’s magazines note contradiction as a common theme, whether it be the content of the magazines and the ideological values presented therein, or at broader, political levels. This paper empirically investigates to what extent contradiction may occur on the covers of real-life magazines (a subgenre of women’s magazines; N = 100). Employing a multimodal analysis of the textual, visual, and compositional modes, contradiction is posited to occur at various levels. Overall, while these covers present a seemingly upbeat character at a glance, themes of a distressing nature – including but not limited to abuse and violence – are present throughout. The interactions between associated texts and imagery, and the relative salience of these elements, are suggested as key factors in these contradictory compositions. Furthermore, these factors are posited as explanations for why real-life magazines are often in full view in magazine racks around the UK, yet are omitted from the scrutiny that other (sub)genres of magazines undergo.


Rudge, L. A. (2019). Continuing the contradictions: A multimodal investigation into the front covers of real-life magazines. Journal of Magazine Media, 19(1), 17-43.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 6, 2018
Online Publication Date May 21, 2019
Publication Date Oct 1, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 20, 2018
Journal Journal of Magazine Media
Print ISSN 2576-7887
Electronic ISSN 2576-7895
Publisher University of Nebraska Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 17-43
Keywords contradiction, journalism, women’s magazines, multimodality, salience, real life
Public URL
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