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/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

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 17November 2018, and protesters themselves, were being described in the French mainstreampress. The material consisted in 19 editorials from 5 of the most-circulated newspapers in thecountry. They were analyzed using Norman Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysisand within a theoretical framework drawn from Chantal Mouffe’s discussion of the notion ofconsensus. The findings suggest that the mainstream discourse on Yellow Vests is one whichdenies their legitimacy within the political realm through a process of depoliticizationsupported by discourses of contempt, republicanism, and unity. This study illustrates thestruggle of protesters to be granted space and legitimacy within contemporary democracies to properly exercise their civil and political rights.

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