Universiteit Leiden

nl en


To foreignize or to domesticate? How media vary cross-nationally in their degrees of incorporating foreign events

This article explores the concept of foreign event domestication as its focal research topic. The authors delve into the varying degrees to which institutions across different nations connect foreign events to their respective country's domestic affairs.

Thijs van Dooremalen and Jan Willem Duyvendak
01 February 2024
Read the full article here

This article introduces a new dimension of how national media link foreign events to a country's domestic affairs phenomenon, namely the degrees of domestication, as previous literature only examined modes of domestication. This includes the extents to which a foreign event gets connected with domestic affairs. In their analysis, the authors implement a topic-modeling analysis of French and Dutch newspaper articles about 9/11, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Arab Spring and Donald Trump’s political rise.  

The authors inductively arrive at a scale ranging from no to extreme domestication of the event, classified according to four degrees of domestication: (1) an entirely foreign affair; (2) a foreign political affair involving domestic actors; (3) a domestic political affair; (4) or a personal disruption. A deepening of this pattern shows how these differences stem from two distinctive cultural repertoires that journalists and other media participants employ when relating to foreign events: a French one, which sees them as an opportunity to dominate the international political stage, and a Dutch one, which considers them a reason for reflecting on domestic or personal matters. These clear differences indicate the importance of the concept for the literature and for investigating it within other national media contexts. 

Thijs van Dooremalen and Jan Willen Duyvendak indicate that world-system theory could serve as an explanation, because both cultural repertoires seem to be linked to different positions in the world-system: the powerful French who aim for foreignising events versus the modest, less powerful Dutch who want to domesticate them. This presents a hypothesis that could be tested in future research: the more peripheral a country’s position within the (political, cultural or economic) world-system, the higher its degrees of domestication will be. 

This website uses cookies.  More information.