Invandring, mediebilder och radikala högerpopulistiska partier i Norden

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Invandring, mediebilder och radikala högerpopulistiska partier i Norden

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Publication Report
Title Invandring, mediebilder och radikala högerpopulistiska partier i Norden
Author Hellström, Anders ; Lodenius, Anna-Lena
Date 2016
English abstract
The starting point of this report are the ambivalent views in Sweden Democrats’ (SD’s) role and position in Swedish politics. At the mid-point of its second mandate period since the party entered the Swedish parliament in 2010, no other party has yet attempted to move closer or to initiate talks and negotiations with the party. To speak figuratively, SD was still in the entrance hall, and there were no signs of invitations to enter the living room. SD’s policy program differs from those of the other Swedish parliamentary parties, especially in the field of migration policy. SD wants to drastically reduce the number of asylum seekers, as well as to bring down the numbers of all migrants to a mini- mum, regardless of how many are currently entering the country. The party aims for a different Sweden, not only in the field of migration policy. They want a country with minimal elements of other cultures and religions and stress uniformity, foun- ded on the basis of what SD consider to be Swedish values and traditions. SD is an extreme nationalist party, and distinguishes itself from other similar par- ties in neighbouring countries by its history and by virtue of its previously strong ties with fascists and Nazi movements. Reducing immigration is thus, for SD, not just about preserving welfare, jobs and housing. The intention is to transform or rather restore the national community: a tight fusion between nation and state. This report is based on the assumption that the Swedish debate on migration po- licy is unusually polarized. In the 2014 election campaign, voters were faced with two options: either a generous immigration policy or a much more restrictive policy, while concrete proposals in the area of migration policy were conspicuous by their absence in both political camps. Since then issues of migration and integration are ix on everyone’s lips. In its initial background part, this report shows how SD’s poli- cies on migration were radically different from those of other parties in the election campaign of 2014. Since the election 2014 migration has been the big issue in the political debate, and other parties have put forward more restrictive policies towards migration. This has not really changed the situation with the polarisation; no parties will admit that they are moving closer to SD. Put in other words, in the area of party politics, the differences between the other parliamentary parties and the SD has undoubtedly decreased but in the area of public opinion the polarisation yet remains. SD has successfully attracted new voters by exploiting the mismatch between de- mand and supply of concrete policy proposals in migration policy. The SD also ex- ploits the fact that criticism of various forms of immigration has been more or less absent in the other parties’ platforms. By election time in 2014, SD had also moved forward as the party in Sweden which is the most critical of the EU and as the only remaining party which clearly propagates Swedish exit from the EU.1 The Swedish situation is unique in Nordic comparison. In Norway, Finland and Denmark, comparable parties have already made the journey from being funda- mentally debarred of cross-party political cooperation into more central political positions.2 The investigations presented in this report show how the image of SD is reproduced both externally and internally. The first part of the study examines how Swedish edi- torial articles in the daily press deal with SD, compared to corresponding reporting about similar parties on the editorial pages in other Nordic countries. This study relies on descriptive statistics based on own calculations. The second part of the study examines how the image of SD is reproduced by a review of texts from the site Avpixlat, formally independent but with close ties to the SD. The texts analysed were those which have been presented as authentic letters from persons that used to vote for other parties (published in the series ”From the seven clover to the SD”), but who have now changed their minds and have decided to vote for SD in the next x election. We cannot know for sure that the letters are authentic, but regardless of this, we can trace a common narrative in the letters which can be analysed. This study is based on narrative analysis; to study how individual experiences and per- ceptions of everyday events transmute into changes in party political preferences. We present the following conclusions from the study’s first part, on editorial articles: 1) There was no major change in the way SD was treated in Swedish editorial articles between 2009 and 2012; it was yet based on a cordon sanitaire. The negative treatment afforded in Swedish editorial articles stands out as sig- nificantly more negative in comparison with the discursive order in editorial articles in the neighbouring countries Denmark, Finland and Norway. 2) How mainstream media reacts to the SD cannot explain the fact that the party managed to attract such a significant number of voters and voter sympathy during the studied period (in the 2010 elections, as well as in opinion polls subsequently). 3) In the editorial articles, it has often been assumed that voters had a choice, to either vote for the Sweden Democrats or for any of the other parliamentary parties, which may have contributed to polarization in Swedish politics. (This polarization has later been even more exaggerated due to later events in Swedish politics – such as, for example, the December agreement, when the established right-wing parties agreed not to vote against the Social Democratic and Green government budget, as well as later developments following the current refugee situation.) We also present the following conclusions from the study’s second part, dealing with texts on the website Avpixlat: 1) Alternatives to the mainstream media play an important role for a party that is not part of the establishment, and Avpixlat clearly constitutes such a venue. 2) Avpixlat offers a counter-narrative that differs entirely from how SD is presen- xi ted in the parliamentary debate proceedings, as well as in editorial articles in the mainstream press. This counter-narrative can help us understand how voting for the Sweden Democrats may seem logical for those doing so. 3) The Avpixlat texts can be seen as often presenting a nostalgic vision, whereby things used to be better in the past, but whereby promises for a better future also can be held out. There are reasons to believe that the readers of such texts may come to see the other parliamentary parties as comparatively unable to hold forth an equally compelling vision. According to the texts in Avpixlat, Sweden is not capable of taking on more immigrants, and is also burdened with increasing costs for migration. The text authors also believe that there is reason to be worried about the lack of political leadership in migration po- licy. They also believe that other countries should take more responsibility for asylum seekers. Based on such a description of the political situation, a vote for the Sweden Democrats can be seen as understandable. 4) The authors of the texts at Axpixlat often put into evidence the desire to strike a balance between a radical message on the one hand, and (on the other) a normalising understanding of the policy situation which most people could see as familiar. The aim of the authors seems to be to radicalise present popular sentiments, rather than to appear all too extreme and strident. We also wish to situate these results with comments pertaining to the very latest developments in Swedish migration policy. Starting in the fall of 2015, more com- mentators and politicians from other parties are advocating visions and policies similar to those discussed on Avpixlat: less migration, ID controls at the borders, and so on. This partial policy realignment may well give more credibility to domi- nant messages on Avpixlat and to the SD. Both Avpixlat authors and the SD can now point to having raised migration-critical policy solutions long before others have done so. Being rejected by mainstream media might affect a populistic party in opposition to the establishment in a different way; it might even strengthen its position. This xii report shows that a party both can attract many voters and at the same time lack credibility according to political competitors and mainstream media. How a party is portrayed in media has no such direct effect on voting behaviour. The relation between opinion, media representation and individual party preferences is a com- plex and contested phenomenon (Bonjour & Schrover 2015). One way forward, as suggested in this report, is to move from studying the public debate as monolithic, but instead as pluralistic.
Swedish abstract
Det partipolitiska landskapet i Sverige har på kort tid förändrats och migrationsfrågor är på allas läppar. Både i Europa och i Norden har radikala högerpopulistiska partier haft stora framgångar den senaste tiden men bemötandet av dessa partier ser väldigt olika ut. Den här rapporten handlar om hur svenska tidningar på ledarplats beskriver Sverigedemokraterna (SD) och jämför med hur andra radikala högerpo- pulistiska partier beskrivs i Danmark, Norge och Finland. I rapporten studeras även hur SD bemöts på sajten Avpixlat. Resultatet visar att den offentliga debatten och media knappast är enhetlig, utan ett parti som SD behandlas väldigt olika i olika mediala rum.
Link http://www.delmi.se/publikationer-seminarier#!/inv... (external link to publication)
Link http://www.delmi.se/publikationer-seminarier#!/invandring-mediebilder-och-radikala-hogerpopulistiska-partier-i-norden-rapport-och-bolicy-brief-2016 .Icon
Publisher Delmi
Series/Issue Rapport;2016:6
ISBN 978-91-88021-15-1
Pages 99
Language swe (iso)
Subject Sverigedmokraterna
Sverige
Norden
ledare
Avpixlat
högerpopulistiska partier
Media
Invandring
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21858 Permalink to this page
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