Det Andra Afrika

En kritisk diskursanalys av SVT:s Korrespondenternas representation av Afrika

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Discussions of structural racism has now moved to the forefront of the Swedish society, and many researchers have sought to understand what form it takes, how it is manifested, how it is exploited and challenged. At the core of this debate we find the media, and its logic embedded with mechanisms of simplification and polarization. Media is our key source of knowledge and information, why it also affects our norms, beliefs and preconceptions. Media thus has the power to mediate, amplify or challenge how we conceptualize the world, and subsequently our (unconscious) racist beliefs. To investigate how media content is influenced by underlying colonial or racist assumptions and stereotypes thus becomes a way to investigate our understanding of reality. In accordance with postcolonial thought, structural and symbolic racism is embedded in language and hidden in images, and surface in the form of domination and feminization, and the portrayal of the subaltern ‘Other’ as passive and irrational. This paper thus departs from postcolonial theory and media logic to undercover hidden patterns of structural, symbolic and historically contingent racism in one of Sweden’s most prominent in-depth foreign TV-magazines, namely Korrespondenterna. Adopting Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this paper explores to what extent racist and colonial stereotypes are reproduced and/or challenged in Korrespondenterna’s representation of Sub-Saharan Africa. In line with postcolonial theory it is found that historically contingent racialized stereotypes are prevalent in Korrespondenterna, and that tendencies of portraying Africa and Africans as passive, feminine and irrational are prevailing. It is thus argued that media logic, imbedded with mechanisms of simplification, polarization and intensification, contributes to the use of colonial stereotypes in media, and thus to the mediation of structural and symbolic racism.

Emelie Rosén
Journalist, Journalistikgranskning , ht14
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