Depoliticizing discourses. The role of editorials in the reproduction of consensus: assessing the media coverage of the Yellow Vest movement

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Author: Mathilde Colin; [2019]

Keywords: consensus; democracy; France; media; Yellow Vests;

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis was to study how Yellow Vest protests, which started 17 November 2018, and protesters themselves, were being described in the French mainstream press. The material consisted in 19 editorials from 5 of the most-circulated newspapers in the country. They were analyzed using Norman Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis and within a theoretical framework drawn from Chantal Mouffe’s discussion of the notion of consensus. The findings suggest that the mainstream discourse on Yellow Vests is one which denies their legitimacy within the political realm through a process of depoliticization supported by discourses of contempt, republicanism, and unity. This study illustrates the struggle of protesters to be granted space and legitimacy within contemporary democracies to properly exercise their civil and political rights.

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