Changing contexts and discourses

Life is a journey through not only time and space but also through meetings, choices and actions. Everywhere we turn, we always have an environment to relate to. It looks different depending on the social context we are in. People come and go, environments, contexts, discussions and actions change constantly and every day a plethora of choices await us.

Depending on how we view ourselves and how we reflect upon our social status and location, we are acting accordingly, forcing those around us to relate to us. We move through different discourses, common ways of talking and thinking about the world in a social context, which in themselves can be constituted as well as constitutive. Thus, recognizing that we as individuals constantly are contributing to the shaping and reshaping of the reality that surrounds us.

It is through language and interaction that this is achieved. In a large part of both social- and human sciences, a social constructionist approach to discourse and communication is taken for granted, and here there is no reason to contradict its existence. However, what is extremely necessary is to ask ourselves questions like: how does the individual experience her own self in these discourses and contexts? How does she position herself along the norms and values that characterize a culture in both large and small contexts? Who are the competitors in the same social platform and what consequences may this competition have for both the individual and the larger social structures?

All this is about the construction and re-construction of identities. There is no lack of theoretical explanations. In disciplines such as sociology, psychology, social psychology, media and communication studies and many more, there are numerous different perspectives on the topic. It is also from mentioned perspectives that reasonable theoretical assumptions about the world for us to understand this issue from a contemporary perspective, can be retrieved.

Knowledge and understanding

Suggestions for strategies on how society face terrorist attacks against innocent people continues as new events occur. Authorities are always and will always be challenged by more or less nuanced positions. Governments’ actions and pragmatic policies are also often challenged in relation to recent attacks. But far too often it seems to be a discussion about society to actually act and not as much how to act. Is more surveillance and intelligence the right way to proceed, with embedded implications for privacy and freedom? Is it tougher restrictions, hence a more closed society, that is the price for security? No.

Notice how the first sentence in this post is deliberately filled with three words that are defined in entirely different ways depending on who speaks them. Terrorist, attacks, and innocent. These are synonyms that easily transform when people with completely different devotion and cultural provenance than how we in the West choose to define the world around us, claims them.


Understanding and knowledge of the differences is what is missing, not stricter laws. It’s the same thing to invent the helmet after we carried out activities that require it. Instead of stopping these activities, we choose to create a device that allows us to proceed with these activities, clearly hurting us.


Why can not resources be given to information and knowledge, the foundation to achieve understanding, rather than to expand an already heavily monitored society as a result of surrender to that which exists?


Since September 11, 2001, for example, Global Islam has become a hallmark of how a fragmented western world often sees the Muslim population affinities based on a simplified view that all the world’s Muslims are to merge under one roof. This simplification has not only proven to be extremely dangerous but also the result of a predominantly American willingness to support their own religious beliefs that good and evil exist, and if the U.S. is good it is necessary to have a clear enemy.


When it, in the direct aftermath of the attacks, proved difficult to personify this enemy, a sophisticated collaboration between political power and the Western media began. The aim was to convince, at best, the global public, but above all the domestic U.S. population, that there was an enemy and that he represented the entire Muslim world.


A symbiosis between political elites and media institutions can be regarded as an ideological position, while this position is often marked by skepticism and ignorance to things that are criticized. Since terms like dedication, faith and knowledge are often far apart, there is always a hotbed for this type of simplification and it is devastating. Without knowledge and understanding, no restrictions or legal changes will ever prevail. Rather, the opposite effect will expand and society continues to face one of its biggest challenges so far: how to turn a political and social condition dominated by fear and uncertainty.

Journalism and global financial crisis

I´m currently writing two articles on contemporary journalism in relation to political and financial spheres, and I´d like to present and reflect on my aims for the latter.

The financial crisis that recently swept over the world caused, among other things, that the total fund assets for swedish citizens at year-end from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009 has decreased in value by more than a third, from 415 billion to 262 billion. In conjunction with the financial turmoil in the world stock markets, the banks’ personal financial advice for any fund and share trading were to be subjected to harsh criticism.

One of the banks in Sweden which was hit hard by the distrust of the media and in public discourse, was Swedbank. The development has led to the fact that an unusually high number of customers have chosen to leave the bank, placing Swedbank in a difficult financial position and above all, in need for trust among customers. And it is in this gap between bank and citizen, that my interest for the media and financial journalism, is emphasized.

With a point of departure in the ongoing western political and financial transitions, whether on global economy, environmental negotiations or parliamentary politics, there is still a need for reflection on the actual upbringing of these issues as well as its consequences. In between lies an essential informative dimension, deeply rooted in contemporary diversified media society. How journalism relates to this informing ideal embedded in the journalistic profession, is always in need for academic attention.

Hence, motives for this article rests upon a keen interest in and a notion of the media as an increasing force of general advisor to people, an ethical and pragmatic guide in the jungle of complicated political and financial realities. It is my hypothesis that journalists nowadays have taken the self inflicted responsibility to advise and pedagogically interpret events for the audience, especially in time of crisis such as the recent financial breakdown in global economy.

It is particulary interesting to apply this thought on public service media since the fundamental idea of public service rests upon a press ideology of social responsibility. What ideological statements are made when news media takes on this advising role? How does this affect the power balance and relations between politicians, journalists, financial experts and citizens?

So, the overall purpose of the study is to identify and correlate the discursive constructions and mediated reproductions of the financial breakdown in the world economy during the late 2007 to the spring of 2009, using swedish public service media newsreports. By focusing on the interplay between involved actors’, constituted by journalists, politicians, financial experts and citizens, experiences and notions around the finacial crisis, the aim is to create a new theoretical understanding based on concepts like democracy, ideology and media representations.

Hopefully, I will finish this before summer 2011.