‘Fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ debates as a public sphere controversy

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Green transition has given rise to new public conflicts over the placing and local construction of energy devices such as wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants, solar heating systems or biogas plants, established not at least to reduce carbon emission and mitigate climate change. These devices have been opposed with reference to concerns about quality of life for the local residents, economic effects, the impact on landscape values, biological diversity and others. As a result, heated local conflicts have emerged, including local inhabitants, media and municipalities as key players, but also with national authorities, NGO’s and academic experts involved on both sides. The conflicts illustrate that even if green transition is agreed upon as a goal to pursue, realizing green transition is not just an instrumental question of implementation, but involves negotiation between different concerns.
This paper addresses the issue by a discourse analysis of news media debate on the construction of wind turbines in Denmark, focusing on the voices opposing the erection of wind turbines at a particular locality. The empirical basis consists of a corpus of circa 300 media texts, primarily from the local or regional press, supplemented with examples from local Facebook groups.
Analytically, the paper will employ the notion of topos, referring to the premises upon which an argument is based. The analysis will proceed over three stages: a) an inductive identification of the inventory of topoi used by the protesters, b) a quantitative analysis of the frequency of the topoi identified, and c) an in-depth analysis of the textual realization of the two most prevalent topoi, i.e. the topos of landscape and the topos of nuisance. In addition to the empirical findings, the study will argue that the concept of topos has methodological potential to integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches within a discourse studies framework.
Publikationsdato22 mar. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 22 mar. 2019
BegivenhedDie diskursive Konstruktion von Wirklichkeit IV - Universität Augsburg, Augsburg, Tyskland
Varighed: 21 mar. 201922 mar. 2019


KonferenceDie diskursive Konstruktion von Wirklichkeit IV
LokationUniversität Augsburg