New Caledonia : written images and metaphors of France and Europe in the context of the 2018 New Caledonian independence referendum.
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of European Union Studies
On the 4th November 2018, New Caledonia voters went to the polling booths to determine whether New Caledonia would seek independence from the French Republic. This study builds on Entman’s cascading activation framing theory to analyse the media framing processes in New Caledonia in the build-up to the referendum. This research adds to the scholarship of media framing by analysing an understudied Pacific case study and by specifically analysing the emotive and thematic framing of key subjects, France and Europe/the European Union, in the context of the referendum. As France and Europe/the European Union were generally framed on the neutral-to-positive side of the emotive spectrum, there were few direct emotive framing contests. Consequently, this thesis placed greater focus on analysing ‘importance’ framing contests: which frames are presented as being more important for discussion. Ultimately, this study advances the idea that the president’s capacity to influence framing is limited if the president is not physically present in the territory or not able to meaningfully contribute to discussion. This thesis also argued that the most salient articles should receive special attention, as the emotive and thematic framing within these articles may differ from trends observed among all the articles. This thesis proposed a novel analytical mechanism for determining salience: examining the correlation between visibility and emotive charge of the subject under analysis.