Exploding Crime? Topic Management in Central American Newspapers
It has become common to state that criminal violence has superseded political violence in Central America. This paper presents the first results of a research project which analyses the social construction of violent realities in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The authors describe the print media landscape in Central America and examine both the quality of leading newspapers and the main clusters of topics constituting the news discourse on violence. The analysis of the macro-structure of topic management in Central American newspapers allows to differentiate the “talk of crime”: it is more heterogeneous than often thought. There are signs that the problem of juvenile delinquency is emerging as the center of a cross-country discourse on “ordinary violence”. On the other hand, the talk of crime is centered around few topic clusters, with sexual violence and border-related discourse on violence being of key importance. Finally, the paper points to a heterogeneous array of discourse events that is connected to political developments and power-relations.
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