Media trust and social imaginaries: A qualitative study on the meaning and formation of media trust
What does it mean to trust the media? And how is trust (and mistrust) in the media formed in the everyday life of Swedish citizens? These questions will be explored in this research project that takes the rapidly changing media landscape and the reports on falling levels of trust in the media as a starting point.
The aim is to go beyond previous survey-based research on media trust and provide a more in-depth and ethnographically grounded analysis of the different dimensions of trust and of how trust is formed in relation people’s understanding of society and their place within it. This will help us form a better understanding of the concept of trust as such and it is, we will argue, of great social importance since it will help us form a better understanding of the ongoing “crisis of trust”, which is a key issue for the future of democratic societies.
The project will address questions such as: What do people mean when they answer questions about trusting the media? What different kinds of trust or mistrust do they express? How are such perceptions bound up with individual’s understandings and interpretations of the “media” in general, and the between society and the media, its history and its future? And how are such perceptions shaped by individual’s own life histories, social positions, attitudes, feelings and experiences? The study design is longitudinal and based on recurring qualitative interviews.
1 January 2022 – 31 December 2024
Swedish Research Council
Project members at the Department of Informatics and Media:
Peter Jakobsson, co-investigator and contact