Issues Salience and Framing in the Taiwanese 2016 Presidential Election Campaign: An Analysis of the KMT and DPP Campaign Discourses

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Lutgard LamsAssociate Professor, Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven, Brussels, Belgium,

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This paper aims to provide insights into electoral practices of agenda setting and issue framing in the Taiwanese 2016 presidential election campaign. It examines issue salience and discursive mechanisms, like causal projection patterns, used in constructing problem definitions. The study unravels the securitisation narrative by showing how separate issues are collated into coherent packages and explores how key phrases, such as ‘status quo’ and ‘1992 Consensus’ are conceptualised. The analysis also investigates discursive ambiguities, since the DPP candidate’s campaign style was criticised for being vague. Units of analysis are English-language texts, taken from the KMT and DPP candidates’ speeches and their media opinion articles, targeting the foreign community, and translated versions of Chinese-language campaign materials, designed for the Taiwanese population. Comparison shows a two-level communicative game in audience differentiation, but the mechanism of guiding people not only what to think about, but also what to think, applies irrespective of audience design.

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