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Contemporary discourses on violence in Central American newspapers

[journal article]

Huhn, Sebastian; Oettler, Anika; Peetz, Peter

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Abstract It is commonly understood that criminal violence has superseded political violence in Central America. Focusing on the social construction of violent realities in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua, the authors describe the print media landscape in Central America and examine both the quality of leading newspapers and the main clusters of topics constituting the news discourse on violence. The analysis of the macro-structure of topic management in Central American newspapers allows a differentiation of the `talk of crime': it is more heterogeneous than often thought. There are signs that the problem of juvenile delinquency is emerging as the centre of a cross-country discourse on `ordinary violence'. On the other hand, the talk of crime is centred around a few topic clusters, with sexual violence and border-related discourse on violence being of key importance. Finally, the article points to a heterogeneous array of discourse events that is connected to political developments and power relations.
Keywords Central America; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Nicaragua; reporting; print media; newspaper; discourse analysis; violence; criminality; adolescent; political violence
Classification Media Contents, Content Analysis; Print Media; Social Problems
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 243-261
Journal The International Communication Gazette, 71 (2009) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1748048509102180
ISSN 1748-0493
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.