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Title:The medium matters: political communication and behavior in Latin America
Author(s):Cronkhite, Amanda Beth
Director of Research:Althaus, Scott
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Althaus, Scott
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Canache, Damarys; Leff, Carol; Winters, Matthew
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political science, Political communication, Political behavior, Latin America, News, Media, Protest
Abstract:Political communication scholars have long been interested in why people seek out the media content they do. Media choice is a complex decision influenced by a multitude of factors; and linking media consumption and behavior is difficult in regions without detailed information about individual media diets and consumption patterns. Yet those same areas are where scholars know the least about the link between media and political engagement. This dissertation endeavors to fill that void in research, using a method more efficient than traditional content analysis. With a focus on Latin America, my study is one of the few large-N comparative studies of media and politics within comparative politics. I posit that the public uses media reputation, the accumulation of years of interactions between the press and government, as a cue about the independence of any medium. I contend that media reputation, earned over time, acts as a signal about how close a media entity is to government, thereby guiding consumers interested in news outside the mainstream toward media that promote ideas that challenge the status quo. I expect that consumers of media that criticize the status quo will be more likely to engage in activities to change the status quo. To show this, I draw on the work of others across a variety of disciplines—including history, communications, anthropology, economics, sociology, media studies, journalism studies, area studies and ethnography—to categorize how media in different countries are both similar and different in reputation or relationship with government. I present a detailed classification scheme for institutional status quo bias that acts as a work-around for some of the language and scope problems associated with content analysis, which is most commonly used to link media consumption and political behavior. I then look for associations between consumption of different media and political behavior. Using data from the World Values Survey, AmericasBarometer and original data collected for this dissertation, I show that more frequent consumption of media with less status quo bias is associated with increased political participation. This is especially true for consumption of Internet news in Latin America.
Issue Date:2018-07-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Amanda Beth Cronkhite
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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