The framing of 9/11 in the American, French, and Dutch public spheres (2001 - 2015) A contribution to the sociology of events

In this PhD thesis, I develop an inductive approach to studying events and apply it to the framing of 9/11 in the American, French, and Dutch public spheres, respectively, during the period from 2001 to 2015. By using a mixed methods combination of text analysis techniques, I research public sphere data (primarily national newspapers and legislative speeches) which include references to the Twin Tower attacks.
Empirically, these analyses indicate that the framing of this event has been stable and uniform with regard to foreign affairs: in each country, 9/11 has been linked to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as to terrorism. By contrast, discourse in the public sphere in each country revealed marked differences with respect to domestic issues. In France, the event has rarely been related to domestic issues and by and large remained a foreign affair; in the United States, the event has been connected principally to national security; and in the Netherlands, it has prompted debates that problematize the position of Muslims in Dutch society.
Theoretically, my thesis offers three main event lessons. The first is that the framing of the same event can differ considerably depending upon national context. The second is that events can have long lives. Many years after September 11, 2001, for instance, in the aftermath of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, all sorts of implications for social and political alteration were still inferred from 9/11. The third and final event lesson is that changes in response to events happen via two modes: as a form of shock, such that they are a refutation of dominant ideas or through confirmation, when they corroborate existing visions of the world.


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Thijs Josephus Antonius van Dooremalen | 2019
Proefschrift van Universiteit van Amsterdam. Met een samenvatting in het Engels en in het Nederlands. | 206 pagina's | Amsterdam : Eigen beheer.
Americans, Dutch, French, Public Opinion, September 11 Terrorist Attacks (2001), Sociology