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Conflicting Conceptualisations of Europeanisation – Sweden Country Report

Borevi, Karin; Petrogiannis, Vasileios

This report explores how recent processes of immigration have changed discourses about Europe and migration in Swedish political speeches and newspaper editorials 2011-2018. In the period up to September 2015, political speeches and editorials reflected a dominant humanitarian discourse and Sweden was expected to strive for a better and more coordinated EU policy approach in relation to refugees. The prevailing image was of Sweden as a forerunner and role model for other EU member states. The right-wing populist party the Sweden Democrats (SD) represented a counter-discourse, instead emphasizing as a main problem that Sweden diverged from other European countries in maintaining a more generous approach towards migration.  In Sweden, liberal ideas and rhetoric about Europe dominate the political discourse. Political speeches analysed in this report reflect images of Europe as an “open society”; the aim being to incorporate diversity in the European project along with the fundamental approval of human rights based on the liberal platform of respect of individual dignity. The material analyzed in this report gives relatively few examples of framings characteristic of conservative ideas of Europe. One reason for this may be that, given the dominance of the liberal discourse, even right-wing populist party representatives (Sweden Democrats, SD) tend to frame their messages and proposals in a liberalist language. There are however recurrent examples of arguments and framings – used by SD as well as other political parties – focusing on the alleged threat that external migration represents, to Sweden and/or to Europe, and there is an indication of an increase in this type of frame in the second part of the studied period (2015-2018).

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