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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: A Study of the Visual Representation of Syrian Refugees in Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013).
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
En bild säger mer än tusen ord : En studie av den visuella representationen av syriska flyktingar i Dagens Nyheter och Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this research paper is to examine how Syrian refugees are visually represented in two of the largest newspapers in Sweden: Dagens Nyheter (Today’s news) and Svenska Dagbladet (The Swedish daily paper). Their choice of images on the Syrian refugee crisis will be analysed, to see what sort of message they send by using those specific images. The reason for this study is because previous studies have implied that the media has an important role in crafting national perceptions of refugees. Therefore, it is intriguing to analyse the images the newspapers published during the fall of 2015 to see how Syrian refugees were represented during that most active and chaotic period in Sweden and if the visual representation of Syrian refugees can influence cultures of hostility in Sweden.

The study has been linked with previous studies research of visual representations of refugees (us and them, identifiable victim effect) and the severe consequences it can lead to (dehumanization, moral panic) if used improperly, and three main theories that will be the foundation to custom and analyse the images (agenda setting, framing and representation theory). These were all applied and used when operating the method (quantitative content analysis) to collect information and data and also later when analysing and discussing the results.

The result of the study showed that the newspapers images did not only focus on negative aspects of events and stories surrounding Syrian refugees. Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet did not publish many negative images, but after the results, it is discovered that they are following that specific path on some aspects and that can be the start of a pattern that will be used more often in the future. While it is established that hostile and unwelcoming attitudes in the West have risen, the question remains how far its been developed in Sweden and how long it will be until the Swedish media promotes it as well.

Key words: Syrian Refugee Crisis, Visual representation, Framing, Agenda setting and Stereotypes

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 75 p.
Keyword [en]
Visual representation, Syrian Refugee Crisis, Framing, Agenda setting, Stereotypes, Images, Dehumanization, Identical Victim effect, Othering
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-44372OAI: diva2:946247
Educational program
Media and Communication: Communication and Global Media (180 ECTS credits)
Available from: 2016-07-05 Created: 2016-07-04 Last updated: 2016-07-05Bibliographically approved

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