Framing the Scottish Referendum, one year after

September 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

One year after I was at the University of Stirling to participate in a seminar about ‘Television framing of the Scottish Referendum’. Jointly with Marta Montagut, we presented a paper on how Catalan media (newspapers and television) covered the consultation. It was a very interesting meeting, with very well selected contributions that turned into a vivid discussion among around fifty assistants. The conference was excellently organized by Marina Dekavalla, one of the scholars working on this issue for years and with a wide knowledge on the topic. Claes de Vreese, one of the best experts on framing, opened the sessions with a very comprehensive explanation about how frames work in constructing political meanings through communication processes.IMG_20150918_093918

There were journalists, BBC staff and scholars from five or six British universities. Of course, most of the discussing focus was on the BBC coverage of the Referendum, and on the impartiality or the supposed bias during the campaign. But the audience was really interested in the Catalan process and about how Scottish politics does influence in the day-to-day political debate in Catalonia. All eyes put on next 27S, my overall impression was that Scottish academics and journalists do expect to see a democratic solution for the Catalan political conflict.

Following, an abstract on the contribution, which was very much appreciated by the audience.

Framing the Scottish Referendum, Seminar 18 September 2015, University of Stirling, Scotland.

The referendum and the Scottish constitutional issue in Catalan media. Representations, Metaphors and Frames

Enric Castelló and Marta Montagut
Universitat Rovira i Virgili

The Catalan media displayed a huge coverage of the Scottish referendum, with special programs, correspondents and analysts, who reported the complexity of the country and offered a myriad of representations of the Scottish and British politics. The day before the celebration of the Scottish referendum, the Spanish president Mariano Rajoy considered in the Congress that such processes were “torpedoes in the waterline of the European spirit,” while after the result, the Catalan President Artur Mas interpreted the process as a true “lesson of democracy” and the “only way to solve conflicts.” The reports and opinions established a set of frames, loaded with metaphors and representations of the country. The most common to explain the British constitutional conflict and the referendum were “the path”, “the marriage”, “the lesson”, “the battle” and “the “party”. Overall, the Catalan media represented David Cameron as a true democrat, despite risky and tactical; a leader that allowed what the Spanish state does not for Catalonia. Alex Salmond appeared as a smart and populist leader, who had led his country to vote. Following the results, the Catalan media also interpreted the victory of the “No” as a victory for democracy.
Ara, La Vanguardia newspapers and public television TVC offered news pieces on the country’s history and its relationship with England. The performances of Scottish stereotypes (the tartanry) were rather limited; although they had some presence reports and analyses tried not to fall into a box of topics. The interpretative frames were drawn considering to which extend Scottish and Catalan realities could be or not a mirror. For the Spanish unionist discourse, “Scotland is not Catalonia”, while Catalan independence argument point was that “Spain is not the UK”. The discourse on both sides tended therefore to present a narrative of the disparity.
In this contribution, the authors offer an analysis of representations, metaphors and dominant frames in the Catalan media during week of the referendum. After conducting a close reading of reports in the main dailies and public television and two of the most important Catalan daily, the authors conclude that journalism built a story about how to tackle the conflict between the Spanish state and the Catalan claim for a referendum, criticising the impossibility to reply this democratic event in the home country.

Note: This contribution is part of the project “The role of metaphor in the definition and social perception of conflict. Institutions, media and citizens” (CSO2013-41661-P), with the support by the Spanish Department of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness.

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Forthcoming article in TVNM

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am willing to see my next article in Television & New Media on the public channel (regional and statewide) coverage of the massive demonstration in Barcelona in September 11, 2012 (claiming for the self-determination). The article offers a mixed (quantitative & qualitative) textual approach to the issue and reveals how citizen’s political engagement was minimized by most of the channels. In the text, I discuss how the processes of mediation and mediatization of the event resulted in a narrative that displaced the political, meanwhile offering a frame close to what scholars have identified as ‘strategic’, focusing on politicians statements (with a relevance of official/governmental sources) and secondary aspects around the march. As stated in the text, this also tended to offer a ‘depoliticized’ account of the demonstration:

The result of this type of depoliticization is that “the political” is reserved as a sphere for politicians, while organized citizens are excluded from the political logics. This is part of a wider professional phenomenon in Western societies, where almost everything is susceptible to being explained in economic and financial terms.

… from the concluding remarks.

***

Masking Political Engagement: Television Coverage of a Mass Demonstration in Barcelona

Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

This article analyzes how statewide and regional public television in Spain handled the demonstration held on September 11, 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia), in Barcelona under the slogan “Catalonia, a New European State.” The author performed a content analysis of fifty-eight news programs and a narrative analysis of eighty-nine stories. The results indicate that the majority of the channels offered limited coverage of the demonstration. The television narratives also minimized the role of citizen agency in the achievement of goals through democratic participation and displayed a depoliticized account. The author argues that the coverage of the march and its consequences resulted in a masking of citizens’ political engagement; far from promoting an understanding of why the march was so massively supported, it instead presented a story on politicians’ strategy. The author relates this case with a wider trend of media coverage of citizens’ protests in a Western post-democratic context.

Keywords

democracy, demonstrations coverage, mediatization, political conflict, public television, television news

Television & New Media, DOI: 10.1177/1527476414545890

A ‘discursive vacuum’ on the independence

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Next September, Arantxa Capdevila and I will be presenting a paper in the X Conference of the Asociación de Ciencia Política y de la Administración in Murcia. We did research on the treatment of “the independence” as a topic in four important newspapers during the elections in Catalonia. We compared the results between 2006 and 2010. The results suggest that the independence is growing as a ‘media topic’ in the newspapers. In 2010, we could consider that it was a ‘electoral topic’. Despite this, we found that the treatment of the issue was very superficial. The discourses on the newspapers regarding the independence as a political project are poor and scarcely analytical. Few arguments (backing or not the independence) are given and when a presence, it is mostly used to ‘adjectivating’ or to “attacking” or “giving support” to some political leaders. In this sense, we have defined this situation as a “discursive vacuum” on the independence, a meaning space inhabited or poorly filled with any sense.

Get full text here: Capdevila_Castello_AECPA2011

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