According to the sociology of public problems, the construction, visibility, and stabilization of a public problem require the mobilization of collectives of citizens interested in the issue, which act as an active entity in demanding actions and policies. One such issue is the depopulation of rural areas in Spain, which has shifted from a geographically localized problem to a matter of state policy. This article investigates the influence of framing in this process, analyzing a corpus of 5,980 headlines from newspapers in the Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, and Castile and Leon regions of Spain as well as from two national media outlets, corresponding to the period 2012–2021. Through the application of statistical analyses of lexical frequency in stages, the most significant terms in the evolution of the media’s coverage of the issue have been identified, which has made it possible to observe the appearance and displacement of concepts and their relationship to the most important milestones of social and political mobilization. In addition, its power to stir up sentiment in socio-political discourse has been explored. The consolidation of depopulation as a stable element in the Spanish media agenda, going beyond the regional sphere and having a presence dissociated from specific events through time, in contrast to what occurred some years ago, stands out. Finding a media-friendly frame -empty Spain [España vacía] and emptied Spain [España vaciada]- may have been a key element in this.
Published on 26/10/22
Accepted on 26/10/22
Submitted on 26/10/22
Volume 31, Issue 5, 2022
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