Images of the other, narratives of the self: Representations of Venezuela in the U.S. printed press 1982--2002
Zambrano Uzcategui, Nahirana Teresa
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This dissertation addresses the question of how values pertaining to a particular culture, in this case U.S. culture, both inform and determine the kind of representations that are found in news about a foreign country, and proposes a method to 'retrieve' culture from these media texts. This is done through the examination of a sample of articles about Venezuela published in the New York Times and the Washington Post between 1982 and 2002 using a tripartite method based on frame, value and trope analysis that enables one to isolate and identify elements constituting representations of this foreign country. This analysis provides new insights into how representations are constructed and how, when knitted together over time and across topics, these elements result in culturally meaningful, value-laden narratives, i.e., objects of cultural and historical analysis. Finally, a mode of interpretation is proposed that unveils the links between these elements and integrates them in coherent, self-contained sets of terms and standards that explain the dynamics of image construction and the role that culture plays in this process. The findings in this research suggest that in (re)presenting a foreign country to a U.S. readership, the press consistently resorts to specific values that, when clustered together as interpretive packages, determine how comments, analyses and assessments of Venezuela's political, economic and socio-cultural performance are carried out.