Who is Responsible? Explaining How Contemporary Canadian Newspapers Frame Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a pressing social issue in Canada. How the news media covers this violence has the potential to generate social responsibility or reinforce misconceptions about its causes, prevalence, and solutions. In this dissertation, I answer two questions. How are contemporary Canadian newspapers covering domestic violence? And, what explains the patterns of coverage? To answer the first question, I conducted an extensive content and discourse analyses of a sample of 823 domestic violence stories published between 2014 and 2016 in a range of English-language newspapers across Canada. To answer the second question, I interviewed over 120 news workers, police, and anti-violence advocates, shadowed five journalists, and observed three newsrooms in four select case study cities (Thunder Bay, Kingston, Toronto, and Ottawa) in Ontario, Canada. From these data, I argue that Canadian newspapers reinforce individualized notions of responsibility and racialized conceptions of belonging. The news communicates that Canada does not have a violence-against-women-cultural problem; there are just a few bad apples, women who make poor decisions, and violent Indigenous, immigrant, and non-Canadian ‘cultures’ that are responsible. The news subsequently focuses on depoliticized state and carceral state responses through ample attention to police, trials, prisons, and punishment. I further argue that that Canadian newspaper framing patterns of domestic violence are constrained, but not predetermined, by neoliberal logics. The reliance on market logics opens the door to strong source influence. Canadian police are able to take advantage of the weakening of newspapers with their increased communications sophistication, while anti-violence organizations receive insufficient funding to match police influence. Drawing together the political-economic realities of both the media and sources exposes the intimate link between neoliberalism and carceral expansion. Neoliberal economic and discursive restructuring, however, does not tell the whole story. Other factors also strongly influence domestic violence framing, including journalism’s ideology, newsroom culture, and women journalists as potential survivors of gendered violence. The implications are clear: Canadian newspapers are also not living up to their ideal role as the fourth estate and the framing patterns are not conducive for the social change needed to reduce and prevent domestic violence in Canada.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/26434
Request an alternative formatIf you require this document in an alternate, accessible format, please contact the Queen's Adaptive Technology Centre
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Monson, Eva; Paquet, Catherine; Daniel, Mark; Brunet, Alain; Caron, Jean (2016-08)Research on traumatic stress has focused largely on individual risk factors. A more thorough understanding of risk factors may require investigation of the contribution of neighborhood context, such as the associations ...
Referential Lives: Literary, Legal, and Colonial Discourses in Audrey Andrews’ Account of the Life and Trials of Dorothy Joudrie Alkenbrack, Kaleigh Elizabeth (2012-07-31)In Be Good, Sweet Maid: The Trials of Dorothy Joudrie (1999), Audrey Andrews recounts the life and trial of Dorothy Joudrie, a so-called wealthy socialite who was arrested in Calgary in 1995 for attempting to murder her ...
“SlutWalk is ‘kind of like feminism’”: A critical reading of Canadian mainstream news coverage of SlutWalk McNicol, Lauren (2012-09-18)Since its inception in April 2011, “SlutWalk” has grown from a Toronto-based rally and march against victim-blaming and sexual violence into a globalized movement spanning six continents. Given that its mainstream visibility ...