“Exciting animal” or “blood thirsty beast”? : A critical discourse analysis of the coverage of the wolf issue in Swedish news media
Sammanfattning: This is a study of how the wolf is constructed as a controversial issue in Swedish newspapers. The wolf is the most debated and controversial animal in Sweden and splits the country into two camps. On one side are the people who believe that the animal is a natural part of the Swedish fauna and should be protected. On the other side are those who view the wolf as a threat and want the animal to be made extinct. The first group tends to live in urban areas, while the second one has its stronghold in rural areas. To investigate how the wolf is constructed as an issue in Swedish newspapers, debate articles from one urban and one rural newspaper are studied. These articles are then analysed with the method of Critical Discourse Analysis, the centre-periphery theory and the concepts of political alienation. The study finds that there are significant differences in how the wolf is constructed as a controversial issue by newspapers published in urban and rural areas. The articles from the urban newspaper argue in favour of the wolf and claim that keeping the animals captivated is what makes them dangerous, rather than their nature. They tend to focus on the ethical aspect of zoos rather than the wolves themselves. In the rural newspaper the wolves are instead portrayed as a threat to both humans and animals, and the rural way of living. Rural newspapers are also very critical of both the national government and the EU.
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