Ideology, class, crisis and power: the representation of economic crisis and political policy in Ireland (2007-2009)

by Henry Silke

Institution: Dublin City University
Department: School of Communications
Year: 2015
Keywords: Journalism; Mass media; Ideology; Class; Irish Economic Crisis; Representations; Bank Guarantee; NAMA; Property Crash; Irish Independent; Irish Times; Press
Record ID: 1180287
Full text PDF: http://doras.dcu.ie/20427/


There is a growing symbiotic relationship between business, communication networks and the mass media. Business depends on communication networks and the mass media in numerous ways; in the actual conduct of business, in the need for market information, for advertising and market creation, and as ideological apparatuses which act to naturalise market economies and defend class interests. In fact it is argued that the contemporary mass media rather than simply reporting on economic issues have become an integral part of economic processes. This thesis explores the role of the mass media and communication networks in economic crises and specifically the Irish economic crisis beginning in 2007/2008. The Irish crisis has deep roots in the country‘s semi-peripheral dependent nature and its weak domestic economy, however, the current crisis is fundamentally a crisis of overproduction (in property) driven by financial speculation. The thesis is grounded in the methods of political economy exploring areas of power, ideology, theories of economic crises, alongside media and communication theories. The study investigates the treatment of the Irish economic crisis by the Irish Times and Irish Independent using framing, discourse and sourcing analyses with the aim of exploring the underlying ideological patterns and processes at work. The thesis looks at three critical periods in the Irish crisis: firstly, the treatment of the property market in 2007; secondly, the treatment of the 2008 blanket banking guarantee; and finally, the treatment of the National Asset Management Agency established in 2009. A market orientated framing is consistently found across the papers alongside a source bias towards financial interests and mainstream politics; which acted to cheerlead the property bubble and fundamentally support government policy in dealing with the crisis.