Measuring Frames: Discursive Institutionalism in Polarized Politics

Le 9 décembre 2016

dans le cadre de séminaire pluridisciplinaire d’études coréennes

Oul Han

post-doctorante de la Korea Foundation

présente une conférence intitulée

« Measuring Frames: Discursive Institutionalism in Polarized Politics »

de 14h00 à 16h00

dans le grand salon de la Maison de l’Asie,
22 avenue du président Wilson, 16e Paris.


Polarization in politics can indicate problems of young democracy, which can be different from known and desirable advantages of polarization and partisanship in old democracies, such as policy competition and voter information. In fact, political differentiation between camps and policies may be low in young democracies due to the low institutional development of political parties. This dissertation contributes to knowledge by demonstrating polarization between political camps by measuring polarized camp frames, instead of scaling policy that can be non-distinct and non-informative for learning polarization.

For having all aforementioned traits, I use the South Korean case to show that the phenomenon and effects of polarization can be evaluated via discursive polarization, which can be measured by political framing. The theory of hegemonic discourse explains that South Korean actors compete by distinctly framing their promises towards goals, e.g. welfare or unification. Viewed over long time, such frames are discursive institutions that reproduce existing political frames but can adapt to political situations, such as growing income inequality or North Korean armed provocations. The institutional behavior of these deeply engrained and only incrementally changing frames makes them easily measurable in quality and quantity.

To this aim, I apply quantitative text analysis that shows statistical word relationships in large text corpora. I examine the discourses about welfare and unification, issues that vary by decreasing versus increasing frequency, and by policy polarization versus convergence. By analyzing over 100.000 relevant articles from 24 years (1990-2014) in two partisan newspapers via mixed methods, I am able to make sense of framing patterns, e.g. political strategies, and incentives for polarizing, within the political contexts of that time.

My findings suggest that polarizing frames end up outweighing idea-conveying and consensus-building frames due to their political utility for seizing power. In other words, polarizing behavior trumps political ideas and policy deliberation that can be outcomes of heightened public attention for an issue. The methodological and empirical insights contribute to existing debates, such as polarization studies, democratization studies, and comparative studies of ideological scaling.

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1 réponse

  1. 02/12/2016

    […] Lire le résumé de la conférence sur les Cahiers du Centre Corée. […]

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