The uses of the term polarisation in Swedish newspapers, 2010–2021

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  • Mike Farjam
  • Bruhn, Tommy
  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten
In this article, we investigate the rhetorical uses and media frames associated with the term polarisation in Swedish print media from 2010 to 2021. We first produce a qualitative and detailed assessment of a sample of 240 articles and then proceed to a computational (word2vec) analysis of all major Swedish newspaper articles including the term (N = 32,805). We find that the term has changed its rhetorical function over time. Initially used to describe, – that is, used as a technical descriptor of events and issues in society – this use later became increasingly vague and general. Instead, it has been rhetorically used to amplify, implying a sense of urgency, conflict, or threat. Over time, the term has been used increasingly frequently, but has been applied less to Sweden and, instead, most often associated with political actors and events in the US. Moreover, we find that, for Sweden, the term polarisation was mostly related to social and political issues, whereas for the US, it carried affective associations.
Translated title of the contributionBruget af termen polarisering i Svenske aviser, 2010-2021
Original languageEnglish
JournalN O R D I C O M Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2024

ID: 380301806