Ideology or psychology? : A comparison of the news media framing of the crimes of Anton Lundin Pettersson and Rakhmat Akilov
Sammanfattning: In October 2015 and April 2017, Sweden was hit by two of the most notorious deadly attacks in modern history. The first was directed towards people of immigrant backgrounds at a school in Trollhättan, the second took place in Stockholm, where a truck drove straight through the crowded pedestrian street of Drottninggatan. In this thesis, frame analysis is used to study how four major Swedish newspapers (Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter and Göteborgs-Posten) portray the acts of the assailants Anton Lundin Pettersson (N = 89) and Rakhmat Akilov (N = 173), respectively and comparatively. Previous research suggests a disparity in the framing of “international” (i.e. Islamist) and “domestic” (e.g. right-wing) extremists, where the former are typically politicized and treated as part of a larger terrorist threat while the latter are described as mentally ill lunatics with individual motives. This thesis partly enforces this, by showing how Lundin Pettersson’s actions are psychologized to a larger extent than Akilov’s, which are rather put in a standard terrorism frame, as a symbol of “the terrorists’” war on “the West”. The results also show several similarities in framing, like how counterimages are used to strengthen the norms and values of the ingroup after both attacks.
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