The social construction of NAFTA: A CMM analysis of stories told in United States and Mexican newspapers
Utilizing the paradigm of social constructionism, this research project inquires how the North American Free Trade Agreement is co-created, managed and transformed in communication. Articles and editorials about NAFTA in Mexican and U.S. newspapers provide the topoi where narratives of cultural identity are sought. Rather than treating communication as a variable whose amount determines the quality of NAFTA, this dissertation takes the communication perspective, arguing that persons in conversation co-create, manage and transform such social realities as that of an international economic trade agreement. The practical and critical theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning is selected as the method to approach three sets of research questions: (1) What stories do Mexican and U.S. newspapers tell about the official position in order to justify their actions to the population? What sorts of stories are told about nationalism, patriotism, economic development, capitalism? (2) How is the "self" and the "other" presented by the storytellers of different countries and the different newspapers in each country? Did the presentation in the U.S. have any repercussions on the stories told in Mexican newspapers and vice versa? and (3) What is the role of communication theory in issues of economic development and international cooperation? Can viewpoints such as Social Constructionism and the critical and practical communication theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning provide a heuristic to examine this type of issues? As with any piece of interpretive and critical research, the findings are not so exclusively significant as is the process by wh ich researchers arrive at them. In addition to this concern for process over product, the conclusion discusses the un/intended consequences of interpolating theories of development with the Coordinated Management of Meaning to address the inter(in)dependence between Mexico and the U.S.
0326: Cultural anthropology