The Global Justice Movement in Swedish media

Hegemonic formations in the relation between journalism and capitalism


Mattias Ekman

Madeleine Kleberg, Anna Roosvall, Håkan Thörn

Stockholms universitet


The mobilisations against global summits towards the end of the last millennium, and the creation of the World Social Forum (WSF) in 2001, made an emerging global network of social movements visible. This thesis analyses media representations of the global justice movement, with the intention of exploring the relation between journalism and hegemonic formations in the capitalist system. The analysis includes representations of social mobilisations against global summits between 1999 and 2007, and the WSF between 2001 and 2007, in all Swedish daily newspapers. The analysis draws on theories of journalism as a social institution, and Gramsci’s concept of hegemonic formations.

Using critical discourse analysis (CDA), the dissertation reveals that the representation of protests subordinates political aspects to violence, and that discursive violence presupposes physical violence. The protests are generally defined from of a hegemonic position of the political, but sometimes protest emerges in relation to legitimate political departure points. Simultaneously it is also downplayed as anti-political. The representation of WSF is more heterogeneous. It is portrayed as: an alternative, an anti-movement, and a carnival. Some aspects of violence are also highlighted through the presence of absent violence. The representations both reproduce a hegemonic order, and in some cases highlight hegemonic struggle.

The thesis concludes that the global justice movement actualizes relations between dominance and resistance in the global system, but that the distance between the social mobilization and the Swedish context, transforms the protests and the WSF to temporary and partly isolated events. The historical continuity in the relations between social mobilization and news journalism shows that social movements cannot rely upon conventional news coverage.

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    Doctoral Thesis (peer reviewed)
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About the Author

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. (2011). The Global Justice Movement in Swedish media: Hegemonic formations in the relation between journalism and capitalism. Diss. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet.