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Title: The role of the media in the assertion of Quebec's separate political identity 1980-1995
Author: Richard, B.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis aims to analyse the influence the media have on the political evolution of a particular society. Quebec is still a society in the making within Canada, a country that is itself changing radically. Studying how identity is formed in Quebec in relation to Canada reveals how much identity is a question of perception diversely constituted and still unstable. After discussing MacLuhan's media theory we outline a theoretical framework on the role media play in ideological debates which leads us to examine the different forces at play in the process of newsmaking. We examine the place public broadcasting, especially the television of Radio-Canada, holds in the political and constitutional debate. The independence of the institution conflicts with a structural duality - reflecting Canadian unity while addressing mainly Quebec viewers. Radio-Canada's position in the referendum campaign and the dialogue between television and the press reveal some fundamental mechanisms that produce long-term trends in opinion movement. Criticisms of referendum campaign coverage allow us to define generally the place the media hold in society and the influence they have. The media are not an independent force. They are an integral part of the political system and if they exercise a strong influence they are the prime object of intense competition between different forces. The alliance between the political world and major economic interests is certainly a powerful and determinant tool allowing the elite to maintain their leadership over society, but evidence shows that civil society gains autonomy and becomes an increasingly influential actor. The tactic of holding referenda to obtain Quebec's independence from Canada has failed as much as the attempt to make Canada a nation-state because Quebec civil society managed to bypass the establishment's agenda and to express its unease about an alternative that was largely incompatible with the nature of its identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available