Contact person:
Anders Hellström
  • Malmö University
  • University of Neuchâtel
Responsible at Malmö University:
Anders Hellström
Project members:
  • Gianni d´Amato
  • Marco Bitschnau
  • Marie Sundström
  • SFM
  • University of Neuchâtel
Time frame:
01 July 2020 - 01 July 2021
Research environment :
Research subject:

Project description

The goal of this project is to explore the politicization of immigration in both Sweden and Switzerland in a comparative way. It departs from the assumption that situations that are publicly framed as ‘refugee crises’ carry a substantial discursive impact on how relevant actors discuss issues of migration and also of migrant integration in more general terms.

Based on the concept of claims-making (Van der Brug et al. 2015) and previous SOM data, it is planned to examine claims that have appeared in Swedish and Swiss newspapers during two specific periods in time. First during the early 1990s, when a high number of refugees from the war-torn successor states of the former Yugoslavia poured into Western Europe; and then during the mid-2010s, when the Syrian Civil War and other regional conflicts in the Middle East forced millions of people to leave their countries of origin.

Despite different policies on issues like multiculturalism and distinct civic traditions, both Sweden and Switzerland were among the countries most visibly affected by the influx of refugees in these cases. Consequently, both also witnessed a gradual right-wing turn in society and had to cope with the growing popularity of discursively influential anti-immigrant actors such as the Sweden Democrats (SD) and the Swiss People's Party (SVP).

Against this backdrop, we want to analyze whether claims made during these two crisis periods reveal:

(a) differences in how the topic of immigration is politicized across borders

(b) differences concerning the nature of claims and claimants (e.g. the media formats employed)

(c) differences in the frames that are invoked in order to legitimate and rationalize political positions.