'Fox Tots Attack Shock': Urban Foxes, Mass Media and Spacial Boundaries

Angela Cassidy, Brett Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On June 7, 2010, UK media outlets reported that 9-month-old twins living in East London had been rushed to hospital following a “suspected fox attack”: the babies had been seriously injured. This story received sustained coverage for several months, and became the focus of debate over the behavior of urban foxes, and how they and humans should coexist. Using textual analysis to unravel the various discourses surrounding this moment, this paper discusses how the incident became such a prominent “media event.” Alongside the contexts of the “silly season” and a period of political transition, we argue that this incident breached a series of spatial boundaries that many societies draw between people and the “natural world,” from the “safest space” of a child's cot, to the categorizations made about animals themselves. We discuss the consequences of such boundary breaches, pointing to a deep confusion over the assignment of responsibility for, and expertise about, the figure of the “urban fox.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-511
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this