Migrants, Swedes and the unchanging practice of music: discursive representations in Swedish newspapers


  • Jonas Ålander Örebro University
  • Ulrik Volgsten Örebro University




Traditional news media is one of the most important sources of information on contemporary society. Media has the power to affect public opinion and alter identities, which in the long run may affect social norms, practices and participative conditions. In traditional news media research, migration is an established topic while music is not. Their combination is lacking in both media and music research. In this study 106 newspaper articles from six major Swedish newspapers, published over a period of five years, are analysed through a discourse theoretical perspective. The discursive representation of ‘migrants’ in the investigated media confirms the picture provided in previous research, according to which the ‘migrant’ is often associated with the alien, the worrying and the problematic – not least in its relation to the ‘Swede’. More surprising is that while ‘music’ is repeatedly described as capable of affecting social relations and processes, it does not lead to a political practice of change. Instead ‘music’ becomes a mythic ritual, according to which subjects turn into conforming and well-integrated citizens.


Jonas Ålander, Örebro University

Jonas Ålander is a doctoral candidate in musicology at Örebro University, Sweden. Drawing on discourse-theoretical approaches, he currently studies participative conditions in migration-related music practices in Sweden.

Ulrik Volgsten, Örebro University

Ulrik Volgsten is Professor in Musicology at Örebro University. His research is concerned with musical communication in different media. In addition to the conceptual history of Western music (composer, work, listener) and musical aesthetics, an important focus of research has been on the role of affect attunement for the musical experience.




Referera så här

Ålander, J., & Volgsten, U. (2021). Migrants, Swedes and the unchanging practice of music: discursive representations in Swedish newspapers. Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning Swedish Journal of Music Research, 103, 21–38. https://doi.org/10.58698/stm-sjm.v103i.10354