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Title: General elections in the post-devolution period : press accounts of the 2001 and 2005 campaigns in Scotland and England
Author: Dekavalla, Marina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 2407
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines and compares newspaper coverage of the first two general elections after Scottish devolution, looking at both the Scottish and English/UK press. By considering the coverage of a major political event which affects both countries, it contributes to debates regarding the performance of the Scottish press within an arguably distinct Scottish public sphere as well as that of the press in England within a post-devolution context. The research is based on a content analysis of all the coverage of the 2001 and 2005 elections in seven Scottish and five English and UK daily morning newspapers, a critical discourse analysis of a sample of the coverage of the most mentioned issues in each campaign and a small set of interviews with Scottish political editors. As a framework for its analysis, this thesis focuses on theories of national identity and deliberative democracy in the media. It finds that the coverage of elections in the two countries has a similar issue agenda, however Scottish newspapers appear less interested in the UK aspect of the elections and include debates on Scottish affairs which are discussed in isolation, within an exclusively Scottish mediated space. These issues are constructed as particularly relevant to a Scottish readership through references to the nation, inclusive modes of address to the reader and the inclusion of exclusively Scottish sources, which contrast with the Scottish coverage of “UK” issues. This distinction between “Scottish” and “UK” topics emerges as the key differentiating factor in the discursive construction of election issues in the Scottish press, rather than that between devolved and reserved issues. Newspapers in England on the other hand, report on the two campaigns without taking into consideration the post-devolution political reality. These core questions are contextualized within the thesis by reference to relevant dimensions of Scottish culture and politics, and interpreted in the light of events since 2005.
Supervisor: Blain, Neil; Macdonald, Myra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: general elections ; Scottish devolution ; newspapers ; public sphere ; national identity ; Elections Great Britain ; Decentralization in government Great Britain ; Elections Great Britain Press coverage ; Press and politics ; Political campaings Great Britain 21st century