Chimera of International Community: News Narratives of Global Cooperation

Hans Ibold, Kioko Ireri


References to “international community” have surged in the news. This study investigates how American journalists portray international community in their coverage. We assume that the phrase, while laden with possible meanings, is more than jargon. A growing number of global issues and crises require the kind of transnational cooperation that international community seems to encompass. Our study is guided by recent theoretical evaluations of international community and contributes to scholarly work on the role news narratives play in nurturing global civic sensibilities. We turned to ethnographic content analysis to analyze news constructions of international community from 2000 to 2010. Findings indicate that international community is more than diplomatic verbiage, yet it also lacks the collective identity and solidarity necessary for community. International community emerges as an amorphous fusion of nations, organizations, and elites. Many international communities appear in the news, not just one, and membership is fluid. As a potent symbol in the news, international community is not inconsequential. Our analysis reveals how the news narratives amplify a vision and shared awareness of global connectedness.

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