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Medierad övervakning: En studie av övervakningens betydelser i svensk dagspress
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis explores the use of surveillance images and discourses of surveillance in the Swedish press. Questions concerning surveillance appear frequently in the news today. The ongoing »War on Terror« has generated numerous news reports informing their audiences how surveillance technologies will protect society, prevent terrorist attacks, and ensure security. The purpose of the study is to examine representations of surveillance in Swedish newspapers, more specifically, how they use surveillance- and amateur images in their reporting. In order to carry this out, the thesis sets up two areas of concern: news on terrorism and news on police violence. The questions that produce the field of inquiry relate to how discourses of surveillance are articulated in text and image. They also concern construction of social identities related to reproduction of power relations, normality, and deviance. Research material used in this study consists of journalistic texts and visual images published in mainly four major Swedish newspapers; Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet. A qualitative research strategy was undertaken inspired by discourse analysis. The analysis focuses on four major issues: representations of terrorists, intensified surveillance, victims, and representations of police violence. The analysis concentrates on surveillance images that were used by news media to visually represent the terrorists involved in the so called »London bombings« in 2005. The thesis also highlights how politicians and other experts become the predominant subjects who proclaim the need for a more modern, efficient, and enhanced surveillance technology. A further issue ofinterest concerns media representations of victims and especially how the construction of victims reproduces normality, and further, how victimisation is related to surveillance. The newspapers used amateur footage from ‘the bomb scene’ in ways that represent the victims, not as objects, but as active agents participating in an act of surveillance. How the public become represented as victims of the surveillance society is examined. Dystopic stories about negative aspects of surveillance including islamophobia and fear of intrusion of privacy emerge as major themes. Finally, the study seeks to connect surveillance to resistance. Different media events on police violence are discussed in the light of events that have been filmed by amateur video or surveillance cameras. Surveillance in a mediated context is a complex field with many different and contradicting meanings and connotations. However, it is clear that surveillance links up with security, resistance, power and control, intrusion of privacy, and above all, to the reproduction of social differences between Us and Them. The news media seems to promote a public discourse of fear, which may contribute to legitimisation of both present and future demands for intensified surveillance. Nonetheless, mediated surveillance may also help to resist and challenge power hierarchies in society and promote social change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper , 2009. , 189 p.
Medier & kommunikation, ISSN 1104-067X ; 12
Keyword [en]
surveillance studies, surveillance, discourse analysis, media studies, news, CCTV, real-crime media, press, terrorism, police violence, victim, perpetrator
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-22624ISBN: 978-91-7264-802-9OAI: diva2:217436
Public defence
2009-06-05, N 200, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-05-15 Created: 2009-05-14 Last updated: 2009-05-15Bibliographically approved

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Carlsson, Eric
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