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Do old habits die hard? Change and continuity in the political-media complex at the outset of the Mexican democracy

Vaca Baqueiro, Maira (2014) Do old habits die hard? Change and continuity in the political-media complex at the outset of the Mexican democracy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis speaks directly to the literature that assess the links between distinctive political regimes and the media. But rather than using normative expectations or current afflictions from the political regime or the emerging media system in new democracies as a entry point into the study, this research builds on the notion of ‘political-media complex’ (Swanson 1992, 1997) to centre the analysis on three institutional factors: (1) the rules that institutions enforce to give order; (2) the organizational dynamic that institutions impose over individuals’ roles, and; (3) the patterns of change and tendencies that institutions take from but also inflict on historical rules and practices. Drawing on the analysis of interviews with government communicators that served at the outset of the Mexican democracy (2000-2006) and on a supportive document research of official documents, the thesis shows that ‘thinking institutionally’ about the state-media relation allows a better understanding of how formal rules, bureaucratic structures, managerial strategies and certain professionalization patterns of the political communication mould this interaction. Less evident but equally relevant is the influence that informal arrangements impose on this interaction. It cannot simply be assumed that proscriptions (statutory regulation, formal rules and written norms) always dictate the behaviour of those involved in the state-media relation. Beliefs, attitudes and common practices are also relevant to disentangle the links between rules and actions. Similarly, budgets, organizational charts and strategic communications blueprints set certain parameters for government communicators. But it cannot be expected that these can be implemented without hesitation. Past routines, practices and understandings also influence the way in which Mexican governing cadres manage their relationships with the media. But as seen in this thesis, the past marks the present in a variety of ways contesting the broad and traditional conception about the burden that authoritarianism imposes over new democracies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Maira Teresa Vaca Baqueiro
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Tambini, Damian

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