Investigating Differences in How the News Media Views Homosexuality Across Nations

cover_socforumAdamczyk, Amy, Chunrye Kim and Lauren Paradis (2015). Investigating Differences in How the News Media Views Homosexuality Across Nations: An Analysis of the United States, South Africa, and Uganda. Sociological Forum, 30(4): 1038-1058.

While there is a wealth of information about the extent to which people across the world disapprove of homosexuality, we know a lot less about the lenses through which they view same-sex relations. The aim of this study is to understand better how homosexuality is framed in the public press, and how religion and economic development may combine to shape this discourse. Through an analysis of almost 400 newspaper articles, this study compares how homosexuality is framed in Uganda, South Africa, and the United States. Because these nations have high levels of religious belief, but differ in their level of economic development and democracy, we can assess how these factors interact to shape portrayals. Drawing on work from cultural sociology and the sociology of religion, this study shows that the United States is much more likely than Uganda to frame homosexuality as a civil rights issue and use entertainers as claimsmakers. Conversely, articles from Uganda are more likely than those from the United States or South Africa to frame homosexuality as a religious issue and draw on religious claimsmakers. Likewise, Uganda is much more likely than South Africa to discuss homosexuality in the context of Western influences.