‘The Swedish Condition’: Representations of Religion in the Swedish Press 1988–2018
Keywords:Sweden, newspapers, mediatization, religious diversity, Islam
The aim of this article is to examine changes and continuities in the
coverage of religion in Swedish daily newspapers between 1988 and
2018. Previous research has shown that Sweden in comparison with
other Nordic countries is more secular in terms of its population’s
religious belief and practice, and more tolerant of immigration and
religious diversity. Against this background the article discusses
whether the representation of religion in four selected newspapers
during 2018 reveals a change with regard to trends identified in previous studies, covering the period between 1988 and 2008. It especially
asks if such changes indicate the continuity of the ‘Swedish condition’,
meaning a more tolerant approach to religious diversity as expressed
in the daily press. The analysis shows that the coverage of religion in
the Swedish press during the period between 2008 and 2018 develops
through parallel trends of the continued acknowledgement of religious diversity, a heightened focus on Islam and the public presence
of religion, and more contestation with regard to the political and
social implications of this situation. In assessing these trends further
study is needed concerning the interrelations between media representations of religious diversity and changes in other institutions in
Swedish society such as politics, law, and education.
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