Last Night in Sweden : A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Image of Sweden in International Media

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation

Abstract: This is a study of how the image of Sweden is constructed in international media. Using the country as a swinging bat in debates on socialism and progressiveness is nothing new but has had an upswing during recent years as a result of the global rise of right-wing forces. With the help of Critical Discourse Analysis, four articles from the United States and the United Kingdom are analysed. These are then presented according to Fairclough’s three-layered model. With the help of previous research on Sweden in international media, fake news and nation branding, these findings are then explained and put into context.The study finds that the image of Sweden presented in media tends to follow the narrative of Good Sweden and Bad Sweden. On the one hand is the classic welfare state in the north, which takes care of its people and with high levels of trust between the actors. On the other hand is a country in ruins as a result of letting in too many immigrants. Both narratives rely heavily on stereotypes. The discussion tends to use Sweden as an example, when it is really about ideologies and values. Another result shown by the study is that fake news is a common trace in news about Sweden, not only in alternative media but also in the established elite media. This can be seen as a result of the hardening situation in the media business as well as the rise of right-wing forces.

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