The dynamics of agenda-setting and framing in the Swedish political discourse
Title: The dynamics of agenda-setting and framing in the Swedish political discourse
SNIC Project: SNIC 2022/22-40
Project Type: SNIC Small Compute
Principal Investigator: Martin Arvidsson <>
Affiliation: Linköpings universitet
Duration: 2022-01-14 – 2023-02-01
Classification: 50401


Language is a device by which politicians gain attention, promote policies, and win elections, by which the news media communicate what is happening around us, and by which the general public understands these developments. Previous research has studied language use to test traditional theories of agenda-setting (McCombs and Shaw, 1972) and framing (Goffman, 1974; Entman, 1993), commonly considering news media as the leading actor influencing the views of the general public (Walgrave and Van Aelst, 2006; Van Aelst and Walgrave, 2016). Recently, new evidence suggests that the proliferation of social media has transformed the influence dynamics, allowing the conversations held by the general public to influence the political elite (Russell Neuman et al., 2014; Conway et al., 2015). Our paper investigates the agenda-setting capacity (what is spoken) and the framing capacity (how is it spoken about), studying three different groups of actors—news media, political parties, and the online public—in the Swedish political ecosystem We will test this hypothesis by (1) study the word co-occurrence between 3 corpora; (i) Swedish national newspapers; (ii) Swedish parliament speeches, and (iii) social media posts from the online discussion forum Flashback, to see when/where/how new ideas (combinations of words) occur in the immigration discourse, and (2) see how the diffusion of ideas is impacted by (i) the topic, and (2) the degree to which the actors consider something as low/high “status”.