The objective of this thesis is to investigate and understand why and how consent is manipulated in societies where severe coercion seems to be effective in securing power. This text therefore analyses the role and nature of coercion and consent – of armed conflict and news production - in Colombia: a society where severe coercion seems to be both effective and profitable. Part 1 of the thesis studies the role of coercion from the Spanish Conquest and Colonial Period to the current regime in terms of the political, social and economic interests that predominate in each period, in terms of the role of armed groups – the main instruments of coercion - in the implementation of these interests, and in terms of the resistance to these pressures. Part 2 analyses the role of consent in terms of historical interests in Colombian media production, in terms of the role of media organisations – the main instruments of consent - in the implementation of these interests, and in terms of dissent. Part 3 focuses on current Colombian news production because this is the main method through which official information related to the present armed conflict is currently being transmitted to the public and because Colombian news production seems to bridge the gap between coercion and consent: by framing and promoting armed conflict. Part 1 uses historical sources, academic articles, human rights reports and nine personal interviews with representatives of the Colombian Armed Forces, guerrilla groups and human rights organisations to represent the broadest possible political spectrum. Part 2 is based on political pamphlets and literature, newspaper and magazine articles and leaflets and 14 interviews with representatives of mass media conglomerates, alternative movements and media groups. Part 3 uses a sample of 851 current news stories to understand the nature of a hypothetical frame that contextualises the actions of the FARC – the main guerrilla group - as illegitimate challenges to proper authority. (Continued ...)
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.