The Present Absence - the representation of immigrant women in the Swedish television news

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The Present Absence - the representation of immigrant women in the Swedish television news

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title The Present Absence - the representation of immigrant women in the Swedish television news
Author(s) Hanski Grünewald, Hanna
Date 2012
English abstract
This study on the representation of immigrant women in the news investigates three questions: How often do immigrant women appear in the news? In what roles are the immigrant women presented and what issues do they speak about? What are the relationships between those involved in the news features? The research has been conducted through the use of content analysis in combination with the qualitative approaches of semiotics and discourse within a framework of the theoretical perspective of intersectionality. Additional theories in the study are considering the global tendencies and the media, the social construction of news, us & them and stereotypes, as well as feminist media studies. A sample of 15 programmes each of the public service prime-time television news programmes Rapport and Aktuellt, a total of 30 hours, provides the material for this study. The findings of the content analysis indicate that immigrant women are underrepresented in numbers in the Swedish public service television news, and that when immigrant women are speaking in the news, they are more likely to speak about international issues than about Swedish domestic issues. Further, the study finds that most immigrant women are presented in the roles of “immigrant” and mother, while very few immigrant women are speaking in the role of expert/professional. In the qualitative part of the research, it is argued that the report on “Rosengårdsskolan” is consequently building on stereotypically constructed media discourses around the victimized immigrant women, the “ethnification of poverty” and the “racification of the city”. As a contrast, the report on “Adel och hans familj” is displaying a different viewpoint in its aim to depict a well-integrated family in exile in Sweden, but, nevertheless, the immigrant women are informationally backgrounded in contrast to the men in the report. One of the main conclusions of this study is that the immigrant women, and especially the non-European women, appearing in the Swedish television news, are so scarce that their mere appearance becomes loaded with stereotypes, myths, symbolism and prejudices. The findings of the study suggest that the possibilities for immigrant women to get their voices heard and take part in the setting of agendas in the mediated public sphere in Sweden, seem very small.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 126
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) representation
immigrant women
social construction of the news
feminist media studies
us & them
content analysis
constructionist approach
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