From Wanderers to Strangers. The shifting space of Scandinavian immigration debate 1970–2016
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonCommunications. 2020, 45 (s1), 814-840. https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2019-0199
The media coverage of immigration serves as an important test for modern democracies’ ability to handle difficult public issues. Systematic and comparative studies over longer time periods are, however, still rare. This is deeply unfortunate as the nature of both immigration and the press systems vary considerably not only across nations but also over time. This article charts the immigration debate in seven Scandinavian newspapers from the birth of modern immigration in the early seventies to the present-day situation. While supporting claims about a general historical shift towards a more problematizing and cultural discourse in Scandinavia, the analysis also identifies major differences in how countries, publications, and genres have handled this complex issue, which brings out fundamental dilemmas for both modern welfare states and journalists. Using the method of multiple correspondence analysis and subsequent cluster analysis, the article also demonstrates how historical press coverage can be fruitfully studied using Geometric Data Analysis as an alternative to frequentist methods.