The representation of revolving doors lobbyism in German newspaper articles: Framing patterns and their implications: A critical discourse analysis of the reporting on two cases of revolving doors lobbyism

Simon Schäfer

Student thesis: Master thesis


News reports are commonly assumed to influence how the German public and political decision-makers think about and act upon lobbyism, yet little work has been done to explore how these inclinations are created. In order to describe how news reports represented two cases of revolving doors lobbyism –the phenomenon that former members of government become lobbyists–, to propose possible explanations for and reflect upon the effects of those representations, a critical discourse analysis was applied to eight news reports published in selected opinion leading quality newspapers. The representations of the two cases were shown to be consistently different and to implicitly define revolving doors lobbyism as illegitimate: while one case was scandalized as corrupt lobbying and thereby echoed the public's negative attitudes towards lobbyism and politicians, the other case was trivialized and not labeled as lobbyism. These findings indicate that such selective scandalization might have created a simplistic definition of revolving doors lobbyism which possibly undermined a differentiated deliberation on the subject-matter. This is particularly relevant in light of a pending political debate on its regulation. Future work can address the actual effects of the detected pattern and follow up the questions this exploratory paper has raised.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages105