Alternative food and animal geographies in newsprint media: Discourse analysis of urban chickens in the US
The purpose of this research was to explore concepts and themes within the newsprint media on urban chicken keeping in the US, to find how the media affect the acceptance, proliferation and appeal of the practice among the general public. Urban chicken-keeping is an alternative practice that challenges the dominance of industrial agriculture and strives to re-examine our relationships with food animals. The newsprint media continue to cover the increasing popularity of raising chickens in US cities. The sample included 94 articles about urban chicken keeping from various small to large US newspapers. A social constructionist approach to discourse used framing to analyze data and explain the impact of the newsprint media on readers. The results demonstrate how the media market dominant perspectives of livestock and agriculture as "out of place" in cities, and mischaracterize the practice as exclusively part of a new local and organic food movement. The results also suggest that media hold alternative perspectives on livestock and agriculture in the cities, and, on some levels, encourage the acceptability of urban chicken-keeping and support further citizen action to allow for the practice. The conclusions are meant as a project to identify gaps in the media portrayal. Suggestions are made for alternative food practitioners so that they may counteract the limited media presentation with outreach and education on important aspects of this alternative practice.
0708: Mass communications
0768: Environmental science