Press Ideology as an Epistemological Connector between Framing Theory and Social Representations Theory: An Analysis of Violence and Drug Trafficking in the Mexican Press

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The present paper explores the advantages of using framing theory, social representations theory and differences in ideology to analyze polarized issues in the press. Framing uncovers the structure/format of news articles and social representations explores their meanings. These two theoretical positions are connected through the concept of ideology – a set of beliefs that shape position taking regarding social issues. Using this integrated framework, we will analyze the highly polarized topic of violence and drug trafficking in two ideologically different newspapers in Sinaloa, Mexico - Noroeste (journalistic ideology) and El Debate (elite ideology) (total N = 547 articles). This will be accomplished using three steps – a descriptive analysis, application of the framing scale and submitting the articles to ALCESTE software. The results show differences in framing and social representations of violence and drug trafficking according to ideology. Each newspaper presented different news frames (journalistic - attribution of responsibility and conflict frames; elite - human-interest and morality frames). However, at the level of representations (content) there were ideological differences in the representation of violence but not of drug trafficking, suggesting a common element in these representations, beyond ideological differences. These findings contribute to (1) the clarification of the concept used and (2) towards an analytical framework of press analysis - analyzing format and content and considering differences in press ideology.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    This newspaper has made two extensions of its own edition: La I and La Sirenita. These two newspapers are characterized by the publication of violent acts typical of drug trafficking. The harshness with which both newspapers present their images, accompanied by a discourse typical of popular jargon (see:

  2. 2.

    Dejan mensaje firmados por Arturo Beltran Leyva.

  3. 3.

    “Organized crime owns the city: Aguirre Meza”.

  4. 4.

    “Fight against drug trafficking skyrockets crime”.

  5. 5.

    “Army vs Drug trafficking: A lost cause”.

  6. 6.

    Matan a 2 narcos a 3 madrinas de la PFJ de la colonia Guadalupe Victoria.


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Correspondence to Hiram Reyes-Sosa.

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Reyes-Sosa, H., Egilegor, M.L., Dos Santos, T. et al. Press Ideology as an Epistemological Connector between Framing Theory and Social Representations Theory: An Analysis of Violence and Drug Trafficking in the Mexican Press. Integr. psych. behav. 54, 179–195 (2020).

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  • Framing
  • Social representations
  • Ideology
  • Violence
  • Drug trafficking