ORDINARY PEOPLE LEADING EXTRAORDINARY LIVES
The Personalization of Politics on Swedish Party
Purpose: To add to the existing research on political communication on Instagram. It will do so by studying the phenomena in a Swedish context and by focusing on the personalization of politics. The aim is to explore how political personalization manifest in the management of Swedish party leaders’ Instagram accounts.
Theory: Personalization of politics is theorized as a process in which the focus of politics is changing from topics to people and from parties to politicians.
Method: Qualitative design by conducting semi-structured interviews with managers of party
leaders’ Instagram accounts.
Result: The results showed that personalization was an integral part of how Instagram was used. The two main dimensions of personalization, individualization and
privatization, proposed by Van Aelst, Sheafer and Stanyer, could be found in the respondents’ answers about how their respective party leader’s account was managed.
This establishes that the dimensions of personalization are present to a large degree. that the results point to Instagram not only being a personalized arena if one conceives of it as focusing on party leaders, but also from a privatization dimension of focusing on personal characteristics and the party leader’s personal life. The results suggest that personalization manifested itself in how the account was managed, how it was used to portray the party leader as an” ordinary” person, how politics was presented through the personal life of the party leader, and in how authenticity served as the foundation for successfully personalizing the party leader.