Research

My research interest started off in the field of television and journalism. As a doctoral candidate I held a joint position between Media- and communication studies and Film studies at Lund University, which meant I had to combine traditions from social sciences and human sciences. My object of study soon became the history of political tv-journalism in Sweden, namely from the Swedish public service national broadcaster SVT. I studied the journalistic narrative strategies of domestic political reports from late 1970’s up until 2005. I finished my doctoral thesis in 2009 after about five years of work on it. Since then I have changed direction of research focus, starting to work on intersections between traditional journalism and new media discourses. This inhabits my particular interest in how new media technology relates to political and social change.

About a year ago I started writing a book on the interplay between use and development of media technology and socio-political revolutions during the last 40 years. The history takes off in the early stages of the fall of Communism throughout eastern Europe in the 1980’s. In this evolving political times the neo-liberal growth of a media market had opened possibilities for media technology to reach into closed nations, being implemented by citizens in totalitarian states and influence values and normative assumptions on the surrounding world. Although the technology itself differs substantially, similar strategies of use of media technology can be traced in current evolving circumstances in the Arab world in 2011 and onwards, which is where my book ends up. People trying to break free from dictatorship and social misery, using technology to organize, mobilize and protest against governments  – challenging the long experienced control and abuse of power. Major differences can be seen in the aspects of participatory and interactivity of the media, how traditional mass media and journalism were dominant parts in the 1980’s and now to a large extent being replaced with a critical mass of citizens, participating and mobilizing through the use of new media, creating alternative and emerging public spheres. Hence, shift of power relations becames evident on several levels – all of which I am trying to describe and analyze in this book.

On the same topic, but more theoretically drawn towards technological rationality and digital divides, I recently co-wrote a chapter for an english anthology initiated by the MEDEA Institute at Malmö University. The entire book is devoted to an overall theme of Innovation, design, democracy and future making – and my chapter focus on the service Bambuser; a live video streaming application. Together with its founder Måns Adler I write about the role of Bambuser as a tool for citizens in Syria and Egypt to promote political change in these countries. The aim is to understand how design and innovation of in this case Bambuser, relates to the implementation and use of the service during disturbing political circumstances. You can buy the book on Amazon or read more about it on MIT Press.

In addition to this I just finished another chapter for a book on Videoactivism, which now is published in an anthology (in Spanish). In this book I take the previously mentioned role of online video streaming to a critical reflection on surveillance society (and sousveillance activism) and argue for some paradoxes in the development and use of “liberation technologies”. More specifically I discuss how the same technology being designed and implemented with democratic purposes, also, through activists’ use of it, may trigger the counterpart to use the same technology to maintain and exceed control over information and in the long run, lead to major social implications for citizens. My point is to raise awareness of the duality of technology and discuss the implications of countering state surveillance with sousveillance (watching from below).

The most recent project is a journal article on the darker sides of media activism, namely an analysis of global online terrorism and the Islamic State (ISIS) use of both digital and analogue media for recruiting and radicalizing potential foreign jihadists. In this article I perform a discourse analysis on online propaganda material published by ISIS during 2014/2016 (about 2000 pages of different media content). The aim is to finish before 2017. In addition I am writing a prospect for an upcoming book on the same topic (ISIS).

 

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