In this paper, we examine the centrality of policy actors and moral justifications in media debates on Arctic climate change in Finland and Canada from 2011–2015. We take a network approach on the media debates by analysing relations between the actors and justifications, using discourse network analysis on a dataset of 745 statements from four newspapers. We find that in both countries, governments and universities are the most central actors, whereas business actors are the least central. Justifications that value environmental sustainability and scientific knowledge are most central and used across actor types. However, ecological justifications are sometimes in conflict with market justifications. Government actors emphasize new economic possibilities in the Arctic whereas environmental organizations demand greater protection of the vulnerable Arctic. Ecological justifications and justifications that value international cooperation are more central in the Finnish debate, whereas justifications valuing sustainability and science, as well as those valuing national sovereignty, are more central in the Canadian debate. We conclude that in addition to the centrality of specific policy actors in media debates, the use of different types of moral justifications also reflects political power in the media sphere.

Kukkonen, Anna, Stoddart, Mark C., & Ylä-Anttila, Tuomas
Actors and justifications in media debates on Arctic climate change in Finland and Canada: A network approach
Date / Year
Mar 2020
Acta Sociologica