The peace dividend as an intangible benefit in mega-project justification: A comparative content analysis of the Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal

The peace dividend as an intangible benefit in mega-project justification: A comparative content analysis of the Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal

Abstract:

Large infrastructure schemes have become part of our landscape. Their controversial nature often requires elaborate justifications including the use of intangible benefits. One intangible benefit that has increasingly been raised in support of mega-projects is the peace dividend. Yet, to date, few studies have systematically addressed the following questions: to what extent, by whom, and in what ways is the peace dividend used as a strategic tool when it comes to justifying contested mega-projects? This article examines the use of different types of arguments in mega-project justification, with a focus on the peace dividend as a political intangible benefit. Through a comparative content analysis of coverage of the Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal project in Israeli and Jordanian news media, we illustrate how the peace dividend is employed as a framing device by both project supporters and opponents and how it is positioned in relation to other types of benefits and costs. We found that the marketing of contested mega-projects to public and political constituencies entails a variety of justifications, reflected in the various framing modes used to influence public opinion in both Israel and Jordan. The nature and intensity of these justifications are sensitive to the media environment and the degree of economic development. Our findings indicate that the peace dividend as a line of defense for the project is the most controversial of all other justification domains.

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Last updated on 06/05/2020