Gang Truce: Thesis Proposal

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Gang Truce: Thesis Proposal

  1. 1. • In 2011 the UN declared El Salvador the world's most violent nation • Homicide rate of 66 per 100,000 inhabitants (Organizations of America, 2013 para. 4). • 2011 recorded more than 4,300 murders • Highest rate since the peace accords in 1992 (Deibert, 2012 para.1). • Most of these killings attributed to the country’s gangs or “Maras” • Over 64,000 members Introduction.
  2. 2. • Formed of Salvadoran immigrants to the USA during the civil war. • The two largest maras are: Mara Salvatrucha and Calle 18 • these gangs have been deadly rivals since their beginnings • In March 2012 they announced a truce • It was backed by imprisoned gang leaders and the Catholic Church • By July, that truce had cut the country's murder rate in half (Deibert, 2012 para. 2). Introduction.
  3. 3. • Formed of Salvadoran immigrants to the USA during the civil war. • The two largest maras are: Mara Salvatrucha and Calle 18 • these gangs have been deadly rivals since their beginnings • In March 2012 they announced a truce • It was backed by imprisoned gang leaders and the Catholic Church • By July, that truce had cut the country's murder rate in half (Deibert, 2012 para. 2). Introduction.
  4. 4. • “But many Salvadorans are still suspicious. Some believe the gangs have been paid to participate in the truce -- an allegation denied by the government and the gangs” (Pressly, 2012, para. 23). • Polls show a generalized mistrust of the process (Encuesta UCA, 2012 para.3) • Public opinion polls show that most Salvadorans view the pacification process between gangs as a failure that only benefits the gangs and not the general population (Cawley, M. 2013 para. 1-7). Introduction.
  5. 5. “Much has been written about the role of the news media in conflict and war, but very little about their role in peace. Searching through the hundreds of studies on peace building and conflict resolution, it is difficult to find even a passing reference to the press” (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 10). Introduction.
  6. 6. • In El Salvador, the media have played an important role in the unprecedented pacification process between the country’s most dangerous street gangs. • The extent of their influence on the process remains to be studied. Introduction.
  7. 7. This study will explore the role that the news media have played in the population’s rejection of the peace process, posing the question of how the framing used by a leading newspaper affected the failed diffusion of the truce and the pacification process. Introduction.
  8. 8. • Most Diffusion of Innovation studies focus on successful adoptions of innovations but very few focus on the failure to adopt innovations. • Rogers noted that this bias is a weakness of diffusion studies • Leads researchers to ignore studies regarding: – Rejection – Discontinuance – Re-invention of innovations What’s new about this study?
  9. 9. • This study follows Johnson and Kim’s (2009) use of Framing and Diffusion of Innovation theories to study a failed diffusion • Their study demonstrated that by using both theories it is possible to understand: – Diffusion of an innovation into a community – The function of news coverage – The role of political and social actors in that diffusion. • This study will use the concepts of both theories to explain the failed diffusion of the gang truce in El Salvador. – Re-invention of innovations What’s new about this study?
  10. 10. “Peace negotiations are pretty boring to cover and even if something interesting is taking place in the negotiations leaders from both sides have an interest in keeping it secret.” (Wolfsfeld, 2011, p. 40-41) Conflict and violence are more newsworthy than peace. The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  11. 11. 4 types of impact on a peace process: 1. 2. 3. 4. Play a major role in defining the political atmosphere in which the process takes place. Have an important influence on the nature of the debate about a peace process. Have an impact on antagonists’ strategy and behavior. Raise and lower public standing and legitimacy of antagonists involved in the process and their positions. (Wolfsfeld, 2011, p.11) The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  12. 12. These definitions contribute to formulating the following research questions: RQ1. How did El Diario de Hoy’s framing of the gang peace process contribute to its failed diffusion? RQ2: What types of impact did the coverage of El Diario de Hoy have on the truce? The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  13. 13. • Wolfsfeld suggests that news media’s influence on a peace process is best described as a cycle. • Changes in politics lead to changes in media performance which lead to more changes in politics. (p. 31) • Political waves, which arise when major events such as an election happen. The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  14. 14. He describes political waves as: “sudden and significant changes in the political environment that are characterized by a substantial increase in the amount of public attention centered on a political issue or event” (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 32). The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  15. 15. • The following research question comes from the idea of political waves: • RQ3: How did the 2014 presidential campaign impact the amount and the type of attention given to the pacification process by El Diario de Hoy? The Impact of Mass Media in Peace Processes
  16. 16. • This study will analyze the media coverage of the peace process between gangs by drawing from Diffusion of Innovation and Framing theory. • “Whereas diffusion focuses on attributes that slow or speed adoption, framing looks at entire sets of traits that move beyond description to comprise a perspective” (Johnson & Kim, 2009, p.186). Diffusion of Innovation & Framing Theory
  17. 17. • In order to understand what has slowed the adoption of the truce by Salvadoran population, it is important to take a look at the way in which the peace process and its actors were framed by the media. Diffusion of Innovation & Framing Theory
  18. 18. Rogers describes an innovation as: • “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption” (p.990). • It is important to understand why some innovations are adopted fasters than others. Diffusion of Innovation
  19. 19. • Rogers suggests that the rate of adoption of an innovation is determined by the following characteristics: – – – – – (1) relative advantage (2) compatibility (3) complexity (4) trialability (5) observability Diffusion of Innovation
  20. 20. • The adoption of an innovation depends on the perception of the potential adopters; • therefore it is vital for its diffusion to convince that audience that the innovation is advantageous. Diffusion of Innovation
  21. 21. • “Diffusion studies suggest that the way individuals think about innovations affects the rate that innovations are adopted in a social system. This is often frustrating… because the creator’s “truth” about the innovation may not match the attributes that adopters perceive” (Johnson, M., & Kim, D., 2009, p. 186). Diffusion of Innovation
  22. 22. The next research question stems from the concepts of diffusion of innovation: • RQ4. How did the coverage of EDH contribute to the perception of the truce with regards to relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, observability, and less complexity? Diffusion of Innovation
  23. 23. “The central idea behind framing is contextualization: Framing puts information in a situational or cultural context that delineates how people evaluate information, comprehend meanings and take action” (Hallahan, 2005, p.343). • Framing allows key publics and organizations to form common frames of reference; it defines the meaning of a message and whether it will be portrayed in a positive or negative light. Framing
  24. 24. • They reflect the biases, either positive or negative, through the use of semantic phrases, and by telling stories that use particular syntactical, thematic and rhetorical devices. • A framed message triggers associations in the minds of the audience. Its contextual cues can bring to mind memories that are either positive or negative regarding the message (Hallahan, 2005, p. 340). • Framing also primes audiences to think about a topic in a particular way. Framing
  25. 25. • According to Hallahan, framing is contributes to the understanding of how dominant social themes are used by the media to present the news. • News frames use symbolic devices such as metaphors, catchphrases and visuals that resonate with the public. • These devices help journalists to group together the information in themes. • They also help the public to make sense of daily news (Hallahan, 2005, p.342). Framing
  26. 26. • Available frames change over time, culture and political circumstance (p. 27). • When political elites agree on an issue, the single frame that dominates the media is not questioned. • On the other hand, when opposition grows alternative frames emerge, changing the media coverage. (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 28) • Wolfsfeld points out that editors do not invent news frames, but rather, society creates them and editors use them when constructing their stories. • Their stories have to be constructed in a way that is acceptable to the readers of that particular society. Framing
  27. 27. • • • • • “The news media can be important agents in accelerating political changes within a given society, but to suggest that they initiate such changes contradicts most of what we know about how journalists operate” (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 29). Wolfsfeld suggests that the press can raise or lower the legitimacy of the people involved in the debate over peace. If the public attitude towards the actors is negative, chances are the political support will be low, and vice versa. The frames that the press constructs are a vital part of the adoption or rejection of a peace process. (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 14) This helps explain why it is so important to evaluate the level of elite consensus concerning a peace process. Framing
  28. 28. • • • The lower the level of controversy among elites concerning the process itself, the more likely Pro-Peace frames will dominate media discourse. Peace frames will be used to organize information about both successes and setbacks: successes will lead to more optimistic coverage and setbacks will be seen as “problems” that must be solved. Here too those who oppose peace will be treated as troublemakers, especially if they resort to violence. The news media in such cases become active agents in promotion of the peace process, constantly amplifying the existing consensus. (Wolfsfeld, 2004, p. 28) Framing
  29. 29. • • Johan Galtung’s concept of peace journalism contributes to the understanding of framing in the media’s coverage of conflict. Galtung proposed that a conflict can either be covered through war/violence journalism frames or peace journalism frames (See tables 1 and 2). “His classification of war journalism and peace journalism is based on four broad practice and linguistic orientations: peace/ conflict, truth, people, and solutions. In contrast, war journalism is oriented in war/violence, propaganda, elites, and victory” (Maslog & Lee, 2005 p. 314). Frames of Peace & Frames of War
  30. 30. • • • • Peace journalism must accept the current conflict and explore it deeply to understand the context; the origins of the conflict and it must include views from all sides in order to create understanding by the other sides. Peace journalism can take the role of advocating for prevention and “emphasizing the invisible effects of violence.” War journalism promotes division between to sides, and a delivers a “them vs. us” approach. It focuses on a zero-sum game that tallies up the visible effects of violence (Maslog & Lee, 2005 p. 314). Frames of Peace & Frames of War
  31. 31. From the concepts of framing theory the following research questions emerged: • RQ5: How did EDH depict opinion leaders and political actors that supported the truce? Opposed the truce? • RQ6. What frames were used more predominantly by EDH when covering the truce, frames of peace or frames of war/conflict? Frames of Peace & Frames of War
  32. 32. This study used quantitative content analysis to examine the coverage of the gang truce by El Diario de Hoy. The purpose was to examine how El Diario de Hoy framed the gang pacification process in its articles. • The research was based on the content analysis of approximately 400 newspaper stories from El Diario de Hoy. Methodology
  33. 33. • The unit of analysis was the individual article from the news and opinion sections of the paper. • The stories analyzed spanned from March 2012, when the truce was first made public, to a year and a half after, ending in 2013, with the presidential campaign for 2014 was at its fullest. • Two undergraduate students of the Department of Communications of California State University, Fullerton were trained to code the content (See appendix A). • Intercoder reliability was calculated using Krippendorff alpha. Methodology
  34. 34. • This study will explore the role that the news media have played in the population’s rejection of the peace process • Trying to understand how the framing used by a leading newspaper affected the failed diffusion of the truce and the pacification process. • Answering the following research questions: Summary
  35. 35. • RQ1. How did El Diario de Hoy’s framing of the gang peace process contribute to its failed diffusion? • RQ2: What types of impact did the coverage of El Diario de Hoy have on the truce? • RQ3: How did the 2014 presidential campaign impact the amount and the type of attention given to the pacification process by El Diario de Hoy? • RQ4. How did the coverage of EDH contribute to the perception of the truce with regards to relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, observability, and less complexity? • RQ5: How did EDH depict opinion leaders and political actors that supported the truce? Opposed the truce? • RQ6. What frames were used more predominantly by EDH when covering the truce, frames of peace or frames of war/conflict? Summary

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