Ecological Modernization as Discourse: A Media Analysis of Irish Newspaper

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Diane PAYNE , University College Dublin, Ireland
Paul WAGNER , University College Dublin, Ireland
Ireland has had a very mixed response to the challenges arising from the fact that climate change is perhaps the greatest threat to this planet and to our current way of life. This research investigates how Ireland's most important newspapers have raised awareness and disseminated information about the issues related to the challenges we face. An analysis of the trend in the coverage of climate change between 1997 and 2011 was undertaken in order to map the peaks and troughs in the media coverage of the issue, and to see if there was a correlation between the peaks in newspaper coverage and significant climate change events. A second stage of the analysis sought to uncover how the issue was framed by the newspapers in 2007 and 2008, and to see what types of issues were most commonly discussed. The final level of analysis sampled and coded the statements made by the actors whose views appeared in the Irish newspapers in 2007 and 2008 in order to generate the affiliation network database. This database was used to create four separate discourse clusters, each of which represents a different sub-discourse network within the overall climate change discourse network. Within these clusters actors are tied to each other through their shared positions on related issues. An analysis of the clusters and the complete discourse network found that the climate change debate was dominated by key economic and political actors in Ireland, and that the discourse of ecological modernization was used to reconstruct the issue of climate change as a technological and economic challenge rather than an environmental one.