Media Framing And Social Movements: A Case Study Of The Red Shirt Movement In Taiwan

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Media Framing And Social Movements: A Case Study Of The Red Shirt Movement In Taiwan

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Title: Media Framing And Social Movements: A Case Study Of The Red Shirt Movement In Taiwan
Author: Ho, Wen-Hsin
Abstract: In my thesis, I use the social movement literature and framing theory to examine the rapid rise and fall of Taiwan's Red Shirt social movement in 2006. The movement was against President Chen Shui-bian, who was accused of corruption; its main goal was to oust President Chen from office. From its inception in August 2006 to its demise in October 2006, this social movement swelled to include several hundred thousand participants, but collapsed nearly as quickly as it rose to prominence. The Red Shirt movement and the surrounding events were extensively covered by television, print, and Internet media. Many scholars argue that the media plays an important role in the success and failure of social movement organizations. They often focus on the way in which media organizations describe social movements and their opponents (e.g., the grievances, legitimacy, etc.) and how this coverage influences the general public, participants, and opponents. Using this literature, I adopt content analysis to analyze sampled newspaper articles from the United Daily News (UDN) and the Liberty Times (LT) covering the Red Shirt movement. The study period - from August to November 2006 - is separated into five time periods based on the four highlighted movement activities, which include the Nazca Line, Encircling the City, Blossom Everywhere, and the Besiege event. I compare the manifest and latent media frames, which include diagnostic frames, prognostic frames, motivational frames, political opportunity frames, culturally familiar symbols, and latent content, across newspapers and over time. In particular, I examine the convergence and fragmentation of the media frames and frames from the Red Shirt movement to see how these impact the rise and fall of the Red Shirt movement. The results suggest that changes in media frames played a role in explaining the rise and fall of the Red Shirt social movement. Among the media frames, the political opportunity frames appear to have played the most important role in shaping the movement because these frames bring the real openings in the political system to the readers' attention, which encouraged the movement supporters to continually challenge the regime. The consistent report of the impeachment bill against President Chen Shui-bian and the support from the pan-Blue political leaders directly point to the success of the movement; in the end, the reported close of the political opportunities corresponds to the movement's fall. This result further indicates that, being in a politically polarized society, Taiwan's media has a great impact on its people.
Date: 2010-11-01

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