Migrants, Swedes and the unchanging practice of music

Discursive representations in Swedish newspapers

Traditional news media is one of the most important sources of information on contemporary society. Media has the power to affect public opinion and alter identities, which in the long run may affect social norms, practices and participative conditions. In traditional news media research, migration is an established topic while music is not. Their combination is lacking in both media and music research. In this study 106 newspaper articles from six major Swedish newspapers, published over a period of five years, are analysed through a discourse theoretical perspective. The discursive representation of ‘migrants’ in the investigated media confirms the picture provided in previous research, according to which the ‘migrant’ is often associated with the alien, the worrying and the problematic – not least in its relation to the ‘Swede’. More surprising is that while ‘music’ is repeatedly described as capable of affecting social relations and processes, it does not lead to a political practice of change. Instead ‘music’ becomes a mythic ritual, according to which subjects turn into conforming and well-integrated citizens.

Keywords: music; migration; news media; discourse theory;  Laclau; logics approach, fantasmatic logic


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