Immigration and the Normalization of Racism: Discursive Shifts in Swedish Politics and Media 2010-22


Duration: 2021 – 2023

Research Areas
Media and Communication Studies


The project examines the process of ‘normalization of racism’ in the Swedish public sphere by looking at trajectories of Swedish political and media discourse. We cover the period 2010-22 of a significant change in Swedish public language on immigration in the context of ongoing socio-political change including the growth of right-wing populism. We examine various ‘discursive shifts’ that allow for the once unacceptable, racist and xenophobic attitudes towards immigration and migrants to become increasingly legitimised and normalised in the public domain. The project looks into evolving meaning of ‘immigration’ in Sweden to grasp the dynamics and diversity of views constructed within the dichotomy between uncivil/ radical statements and quasicivil/rationalised arguments. Conducting three, comprehensive, empirical studies, we undertake in-depth, systematic, diachronic, critical discourse analysis of Swedish (mainstream/populist) political and (traditional/online) media discourse. That analysis is additionally informed by ‘insider’ interviews with political and media experts reflecting on the immigration-related discursive change. The project moves beyond the dominant approaches to ‘representations of’ migration in politics and media by looking in-depth at complex ideas and concepts used in the ongoing process of discursive ‘othering’ of migrants and allowing political/media actors to transform norms of public expression as well as normalise racism in Sweden.

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About the Member

Mattias Ekman

Mattias Ekman is Associate Professor in Media- and Communication Studies and the director of studies for the undergraduate and master programmes. Ekman is currently heading the research project “Interactive Racism in Swedish Online Media, Press ... Read more



Uppsala universitet

Uppsala, Sweden