Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The aim of this master’s thesis in history of ideas is to investigate the idea circulation in the Swedish Green Party’s meetings with mass media 1980–1982.
The study is based upon a series of theoretical premises. It is presumed that cultural expressions, such as speech, media use and visual representation, can be understood through studying how people think about society’s history, contemporary development and conceivable futures. Since ideas about society’s ongoing development also are presumed to be intertwined with social and cultural positions and practices, and may be expressed differently given different social and cultural circumstances, it is relevant to investigate on the one hand the Green Party’s political vision, and on the other hand how the formulation and reception of ideas took place between them and journalists.
The Green Party’s communication to the Swedish public is studied through on the one hand their own media channels, and on the other hand a selection of events where they were covered in mass media, communicating to the public via journalists.
The study shows that the Green Party expected society’s ongoing development to lead to an environmental and human disaster, if not their vision of a democratic society, built on small-scale production, came true. These two conceivable futures were used to motivate political action in their present time. History, on the other hand, was used to criticize the present society built on economical growth and hierarchies. In the Green Party’s visionary society, mankind would embrace a natural lifestyle and thereby reunite with her, in growth society, lost democratic, accountable and creative nature. These ideas were related to societal processes, events and circulating ideas at the time.
To get their messages across to the broad Swedish public, the Green Party arranged a press conference. Partly adapting to journalistic working methods for covering politics, the Green Party staged their alternative, small-scale ideology materially, musically and visually.
The Green Party’s mass media appearance, along with their growth in membership numbers, made mass media coverage about them increase. In a parliamentary uncertain and politically hostile time, the party’s presented parliamentary strategies and political proposals awoke journalistic speculation.
However, journalists’ news telling about the Green Party’s politics circulated, in different ways, around their parliamentary goal, prospects and future obligations. Thereby conceivable futures, as formulated by journalists, gave meaning to the Green Party’s formation, development and politics.
These ideas were expressed in journalistic media use and interview praxis. Since around two decades, journalists were reporting more independently and confrontational on politics than previously. Covering the Green Party, photographers, camera men and writers created meanings by using mediums, which sometimes were transferred between media forms, to support news narratives.
Consequently, a political party trying to change a political lifestyle and exercise reached the Swedish public through mass media as a party mainly competing for parliamentary representation. These results contribute to ongoing research on how, and on what premises, political voices have reached the public through mass media throughout modern history.
2015. , 85 p.
Swedish Green Party, use of history, use of future, cultural history of media, political history, visual cultural studies.