Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media Studies


Pamela Shoemaker


conflict studies, hunger strike, India, media framing, organizational strategy, social movement

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study considers the newspaper coverage of Irom Sharmila's on-going, 13-year hunger strike in India to question how information from the media plays a role in generation of social movement conflict. With specific attention paid to the cultural context and method of protest, the study applies theories of conflict, social movement planning, and framing to examine whether the hunger strike elicits coverage that includes salient frames generated by the movement. Such coverage could signify a potential shift in the protest paradigm applied to English-language newspapers in India. Through a quantitative content analysis, articles pertaining to Irom Sharmila's hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act were coded for conflict variables of stage and constructiveness; social movement frames of diagnosis, prognosis, and motivation; and political opportunity measures of access, party alignment, elite tension, and allies. Furthermore, this study aimed to compare the English-language press of several regions of India at the local and national level. Articles were drawn from nine English-language newspapers from 2002 to 2012. Ultimately, the study revealed that the press reporting on Sharmila's hunger strike does not afford robust information that could help transform the intractable conflict between Sharmila and the government and does not provide more detailed statements of the issue and proposed solution that could help legitimize the actions of the movement. No conclusive evidence was revealed to suggest that regional or local/national variations existed in the newspapers that reported on Sharmila's strike over the last decade.


Open Access



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