Discourse Network of a Public Issue Debate: A Study on Covid-19 Cases in Indonesia

Eriyanto ., Denny Januar Ali


This research is intended to answer the question of the discourses developed in association with Covid-19 management. Discourse in this regard is understood within the context of public policy, i.e. a set of concepts or ideas conveyed by actors to influence public policies. This study employed a discourse coalition theory. In addition, this study applied a discourse network analysis (DNA) method, combining discourse analysis (qualitative contents) and social network method. The DNA method maps any developing discourses on an issue (what) and also actors stating such discourses (who). The research was carried out for five months, starting from 17th November 2019 to 30th April 2020 and it included 1,123 statements of actors that were published in the media. The results of this study show that a coalition of discourse also occurs in health issues. The study reinforces the findings of Leifeld and Haunss (2011) on how actors attempt to present discourse to dominate the public conversation. This research shows the efforts of government actors, i.e. central government, regional governments, and the Ministry of Health, to conduct a coalition between two opposing discourses. The government efforts are not entirely successful. The government is also less successful in using communication channels and social media to form a single discourse.


Keywords: Discourse, discourse network analysis, public policies, media, discourse coalition.

Full Text:



Benford, R. D., & Snow, D. A. (2000). Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 611-639.

Brandes, U., & Wagner, D. (2004). Visone: Analysis and visualization of social networks. In M. Jünger & P. Mutzel (Eds.), Graph drawing software (pp. 321–340). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.

Breindl, Y. (2013). Discourse networks on state-mandated access blocking in Germany and France. Info, 15(6), 42–62.

Broadbent, J., & Vaughter, P. (2014). Inter-disciplinary analysis of climate change and society: A network approach. In M. J. Manfredo, J. J. Vaske, A. Rechkemmer, & E. A. Duke (Eds.), Understanding society and natural resources: Forging new strands of integration across the social sciences (pp. 203-228). Heidelberg/Berlin: Springer.

Buckton, C., Fergie, G., Leifeld, P., & Hilton, S. (2019). A discourse network analysis of UK newspaper coverage of the “sugar tax” debate before and after the announcement of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 490-514.

Butts, C. C. (2008). A relational event framework for social action. Sociological Methodology, 38(1), 155–200.

Fergie, G., Leifeld, P., Hawkins, B., & Hilton, S. (2019). Mapping discourse coalitions in the minimum unit pricing for alcohol debate: A discourse network analysis of UK newspaper coverage. Addiction, 114(4), 741–753.

Fisher, D. R., Waggle, J., & Leifeld, P. (2013). Where does political polarization come from? Locating polarization within the U.S. climate change debate. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(1), 70–92.

Fisher, D. R., Leifeld, P., & Iwaki, Y. (2013). Mapping the ideological networks of American climate politics. Climatic Change, 116(3), 523–545.

Ghinoi, S., Wesz, V. J. Jr., & Piras, S. (2018). Political debates and agricultural policies: Discourse coalitions behind the creation of Brazil’s Pronaf. Land Use Policy, 76, 68–80.

Ghinoi, S., & Steiner, B. (2020). The political debate on climate change in Italy: A discourse network analysis. Politics and Governance, 8(2), 215–228.

Girvan, M. & Newman, M. E. J. (2002). Community structure in social and biological networks. PNAS, 99(12), 7821–7826. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.122653799

Golbeck, J. (2013). Analyzing the social web. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kauffman.

Haas, P. M. (1992). Introduction: Epistemic communities and international policy coordination. International Organization, 46(1), 1–35.

Hajer, M. (1993). Discourse coalitions and the institutionalization of practice: The case of acid rain in Britain. In F. Fischer & J. Forester (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis and planning (pp. 43–76). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Hajer, M. (1995). The politics of environmental discourse: Ecological modernization and the regulation of acid rain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hajer, M. (2002). Discourse analysis and the study of policy making. European Political Science, 2(1), 61–65.

Hajer, M. (2005). Rebuilding ground zero: The politics of performance. Planning Theory & Practice, 6(4), 445-464.

Heaney, M. T., & Leifeld, P. (2018). Contributions by interest groups to lobbying coalitions. The Journal of Politics, 80(2), 494-509.

Ika Karlina Idris. (2018). Government social media in Indonesia: Just another information dissemination tool. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 34(4), 337-356.

Jørgensen, M. & Phillips, L. (2002). Discourse analysis as theory and method. London: Sage publications.

Kukkonen, A., & Ylä-Anttila, T. (2020). The science–policy interface as a discourse network: Finland’s climate change policy 2002–2015. Politics and Governance, 8(2), 200–214.

Leifeld, P., & Haunss, S. (2010). A comparison between political claims analysis and discourse network analysis: The case of software patents in the European Union. Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods Bonn, 2010/21.

Leifeld, P., & Haunss, S. (2012). Political discourse networks and the conflict over software patents in Europe. European Journal of Political Research, 51(3), 382-409.

Leifeld, P., & Schneider, V. (2012). Information exchange in policy networks. American Journal of Political Science, 53(3), 731-744.

Leifeld, P. (2013). Reconceptualizing major policy change in the advocacy coalition framework: A discourse network analysis of German pension politics. The Policy Studies Journal, 41(1), 169—198.

Leifeld, P. (2017). Discourse network analysis: Policy debates as dynamic networks. In J. N. Victor, A. H. Montgomery & M. Lubell (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political networks (pp 301—325). New York: Oxford.

Leifeld, P., Gruber, J., & Bossner, F. R. (2019). Discourse network analyzer manual: Version 2.0-beta24.jar with rDNA 2.1.16. Colchester: University of Essex. Retrieved from https://www.philipleifeld.com/ software/software.html

Leifeld, P. (2020). Policy debates and discourse network analysis: A research agenda. Politics and Governance, 8(2), 180–183.

Linder, S. (1995). Contending discourses in the electric and magnetic fields controversy: The social construction of EMF risk as a public problem. Policy Sciences, 28(2), 209–230.

Muller, A. (2015). Using discourse network analysis to measure discourse coalitions: Towards a formal analysis of political discourse. World Political Science, 11(2), 377-404.

Nagel, M., & Satoh, K. (2018). Protesting iconic megaprojects: A discourse network analysis of the evolution of the conflict over Stuttgart 21. Urban Studies, 56(8), 1681-1700.

Nizamani, F. Q., Ishak, S. Z. A, & Nizamani, M. Q. (2019). Political factors affecting parents’ perceptions on televised polio messages in Sindh, Pakistan: A critical investigation. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 35(3), 300-315.

Olick, J. K., & Levy, D. (1997). Collective memory and cultural constraint: Holocaust myth and rationality in German politics. American Sociological Review, 62(6), 921–936.

Riffe, D., Lacy, S., Watson, B., & Fico, F. (2019). Analyzing media messages: Using quantitative content analysis in research (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

Romel, W., Gunawan, R., & Virgiano, L. J. (2020). The impact of Covid-19 to Indonesia’s economic growth. Jakarta: Faculty of Economics and Business Tarumanagara University.

Schon, D. A., & Rein, M. (1994). Frame reflection. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Steinfeld, N. (2016). The F-campaign: A discourse network analysis of party leaders’ campaign statements on Facebook. Israel Affairs, 22(3-4), 743-759.

Waagsaether, K. L., & Scott, D. (2016). Discourse analysis as a method for understanding the framing of urban governance. South Africa: FRACTAL.

Wagner, P., & Payne, D. (2017). Trends, frames and discourse networks: Analysing the coverage of climate change in Irish newspapers. Irish Journal of Sociology, 25(1), 5–28.

Wallaschek, S., Starke, C., & Brüning, C. (2020). Solidarity in the public sphere: A discourse network analysis of German newspapers (2008–2017). Politics and Governance, 8(2), 257–271.

Wolfsfeld, G., & Sheafer, T. (2006). Competing actors and the construction of political news: The contest over waves in Israel. Political Communication, 23(3), 333–354.

Yun, S., Ku, D., & Han, J. (2014). Framing climate change as an economic opportunity in South Korean newspapers. Development and Society, 43(2), 219–238.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

e-ISSN: 2289-1528