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

The project examines the process of normalization of racism in the Swedish public sphere by looking at trajectories of Swedish political and media discourse. The study covers 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. The research group examines 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 quasi-civil/rationalised arguments.

Conducting three, comprehensive, empirical studies, the researchers 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.

Project period

2020-12-01 – 2023-12-31


Swedish Research Council

Project members

Project members at the Department of Informatics and Media: Michal Krzyzanowski, project leader and contact.

More about the project

More details about the project “Immigration and the Normalization of Racism: Discursive Shifts in Swedish Politics and Media 2010-22” at SweCRIS’ website.