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Framing COVID-19: Analysing the Effect of Framing on the Popular Understanding of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Francony, Clement

Traditionally, in times of crises, leaders and governments resort to appeals of national defence and security to rally a population together, to create a united front against that crisis. Issues of main concern are framed through a militaristic and security lens to sensationalise the issue, to make compliance of the population easier, and to give the government the necessary powers to address the issue. Simultaneously, less important issues tend to be framed through a socio-economic lens. Such a lens garners less interest in the issue, and thus less action.

This thesis looks at the framing of the coronavirus pandemic in 5 countries through a comparative lens, to assess how much of a security frame countries used. A framing index is constructed to measure the level of security framing, looking for elements of speech and actions from governments. Framing is then measured against compliance, trust in government, and coronavirus performance. Findings suggest that government framing had no impact on how regular people viewed or understood the pandemic. However, framing reflected how the government itself viewed the pandemic and the possible solutions for it. Countries that employed a more security frame had considerably worse health outcomes.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Frye, Timothy M.
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
April 19, 2021