The Political Economy of Austerity Framing: Journalistic Reporting of The Greek Memoranda 2010-2015
thesisposted on 2019-06-14, 16:17 authored by Christos Kostopoulos
This project examines the interplay between framing and political economic theories to enhance understanding of journalistic production around significant political issues. The thesis focuses on the case of the memoranda signed between the Greek government and the creditor troika and their journalistic coverage from 2010 to 2015. The research addresses three relevant questions shedding light on how power influences journalistic practice and content production. The first question concerns how political economic structures can assist in the explanation of frames applied in the press. The second concerns how the frames themselves can contribute to understanding regarding the systemic relationships of power and framing struggles that lead to their application in news messages. And the last question concerns how the Greek media framed democratic debate about the memoranda. In order to shed light on the process of frame building a theoretical framework that brings together theories from framing research with structures and processes from the political economy of the media tradition has been developed. Furthermore, this theoretical framework has been informed by twelve qualitative semi-structured interviews with journalists and a frame analysis of articles from mainstream Greek newspapers and political party announcements covering a time frame of seven months for each memorandum. The theoretical framework of this thesis is inspired by Vliegenthart and van Zoonen’s (2010) call for a multi-level analysis of power in frame building. The thesis concludes that political economy can indeed assist in explaining the frame building process and shed light onto how frames are applied in news messages by pinpointing how each level contributes to their structure. Furthermore, framing can also shed light on the systemic power relationships among the structures themselves and the development of a media system. Finally, it is concluded that the debate was framed in a polarized manner, however within limited margins of opinion.