Macquarie University
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Cooperation and image in the climate change context: Australia frames China as an environmental actor

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:13 authored by Li Ji
Environmental issues, especially climate change, have increasingly gained salience on the agenda of national policy and in the theatre of world politics in the 21st century. China is one of the key players on this stage. In the contemporary international context, a new typology of national images needs to be established to incorporate relationships that go beyond the enemy-ally dichotomy. In the field of communication, most studies about China's national image follow a visibility-valence typology, but the results are no longer sufficient to serve the subtleties arising in the context of 21st century, particularly the implementation of soft power and public diplomacy. -- Responding to the inadequacies in the literature, this project has developed a new typology of national images as well as a framing approach for national image analysis in the Chinese national image context. In order to fill the research gap, this project examined the Australian social discourse (media discourse and intermediate experts' discourse) constructing China's national image in relation to environment. It did so by conducting framing analysis on two leading Australian broadsheets and in-depth interviews with scholars and policy-makers (13 in total). -- The findings demonstrate that there are four common generic frames in the media discourse and intermediate experts' individual minds. These frames, on the one hand, show the significant presence of a 'cooperative image' in the climate change context. On the other hand they reveal a new category of image, environmental image, to the ones normally discussed in international communication. They are incorporated in a new framework for evaluating environmental image in other international contexts. Furthermore, the findings disclose the images of China in the Australian social discourse and China's dominant discourse about soft power do not match each other. Thus, the findings may provide some insights for China's practice of soft power and public diplomacy in the western democracies.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review: image and environmental communication -- 3. Theoretical framework -- 4. Methodology -- 5. Findings 1: Frames of China in the two Australian newspapers -- 6. Findings 2: In-depth interviews -- 7. Discussion and conclusions.


Bibliography: p. 291-318

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Dept. of Media, Music, Communication & Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Naren Chitty


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Li Ji 2012.






1 online resource (xx, 318 p.) col. ill

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