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Exploding Crime? Topic Management in Central American Newspapers


  • Sebastian Huhn

    () (GIGA Institute for Ibero-American Studies)

  • Anika Oettler

    () (GIGA Institute for Ibero-American Studies)

  • Peter Peetz

    () (GIGA Institute for Ibero-American Studies)


It has become common to state that criminal violence has superseded political violence in Central America.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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Huhn & Anika Oettler & Peter Peetz, 2006. "Exploding Crime? Topic Management in Central American Newspapers," GIGA Working Paper Series 33, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:33

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Huhn, 2008. "Discourses on Violence in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua: Social Perceptions in Everyday Life," GIGA Working Paper Series 81, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    2. Anika Oettler, 2008. "Do Qualitative Data Help in Addressing Central American Violence? Research Note on Data Collection," GIGA Working Paper Series 76, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    3. Sebastian Huhn, 2008. "A History of Nonviolence: Insecurity and the Normative Power of the Imagined in Costa Rica," GIGA Working Paper Series 84, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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    Central America; violence; discourse analysis; media;

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