About the project

Starting from the general observation that Denmark, Norway and Sweden in spite of all their similarities and close ties have had strikingly different public discourses on the issue of immigration, and have developed quite different political regimes in relevant policy areas, SCANPUB seeks to analyse and compare public discourses on immigration in Scandinavia, enabling (a) comprehensive and comparative description of developments and a basis for (b) a normative evaluation and (c) an attempt at a set of explanations. The issue is well suited for a study of how liberal democracy handles important, complex issues. SCANPUB is therefore also designed to (d) improve public sphere theory in areas concerning the forms and role of deliberation in actually existing democracies, and the continued role of the nation-state.

SCANPUB aim to improve our understanding not only of mediated public discourse but also of the relations between the mediated public sphere and political decision-making on the one hand and and the general public on the other. The project is organized in five work packages: WP1 is to do a comprehensive quantitative content analysis of key newspapers and TV channels in peak years of public debate on the issue and also qualitative analyses of a strategic sample of a variety of texts including fiction; WP2 is to do a a systematic evaluation of mediated public discourse based in normative theories of public deliberation; WP3 is to investigate relations between mediated public discourse and attitudes and understandings among the public through four sub projects, one of which deals with online media; WP4 is to study relations between mediated public discourse and political decision-making, while WP5 will assess explanatory factors and implications for public sphere theory.

The project is led by Professor Jostein Gripsrud, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen.