Journal Article

A populist turn?: News editorials and the recent discursive shift on immigration in Sweden



This article undertakes a critical discourse analysis of Swedish quality newspaper editorials and their evolving framing of immigration since the 2015 peak of the recent European “refugee crisis”. Positioned within the ongoing discursive shifts in the Swedish public sphere and the growth of discursive uncivility in its mainstream areas, the analysis highlights how xenophobic and racist discourses once propagated by the far and radical right gradually penetrate into the studied broadsheet newspapers. We argue that the examined editorials carry the tendency to normalise once radical perceptions of immigration. This takes place by incorporating various discursive strategies embedded in wider argumentative frames – or topoi – of demographic consequences, Islam and Islamisation, threat, and integration. All of these enable constructing claims against immigration now apparently prevalent in the examined strands of the Swedish “quality” press.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Nordicom Review, Vol 42, Issue 1.
  • Pages:
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About the Authors

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


Ekman, M. and Krzyzanowski, M. (2021). A populist turn?: News editorials and the recent discursive shift on immigration in Sweden. Nordicom Review, 42(1), pp. 67-87. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2022]. doi: 10.2478/nor-2021-0007.