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Massmedial gestaltning och vardagsförståelse: Versioner av en arbetsplatsomvandling
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Communications Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Mass Media Interpretations and Everyday Understandings : Versions of Change in a Workplace (English)
Abstract [en]

During the last years, we have witnessed many restructurings of workplaces. This thesis focuses on one particular event, the reduction and reorganization of the garrison of Eksjö in Sweden where hundreds of personnel were involved These changes were covered by the mass media and naturally talked about in semi-public and private places.

Language is viewed here as a social practice, in which people tell versions of the event in order to do things. The argument is that the understanding of the full complexity of news events requires an approachbased on more than one communicative arena and including versions both of news media and of those who are actually involved in the news events. Accordingly the study is based on analyses of media texts, i.e. local news, and talk in focus groups combined with ethnographic fieldwork as major methods.

The data were analysed with an emphasis on recurrent themes and discursive actors. The purpose was to discover what versions of the event were formulated in the media coverage, and to investigate how these versions correspond with those told by people more directly involved in the event. The results show differences and similarities between various versions of what was occurring. Specific themes and actors occurred in both newspaper articles and focus-group talk. One such theme was phasing out and development. Other themes revolved around anxiety, uncertainty, and the local struggle against the reduction.

The media presented a dramatic beginning, followed by a struggle for the future that ended in some sort of closing stages, pointing at improvement and recovery. The mediated discourses strived for unmasking the truth, tried to point out how things really were and to tell what was going to happen next. The focus groups, on the other hand presented somewhat different versions of the event. More of a rapid, unfinished, aimless change, taking place along circular courses. According to some of the focus-group actors, the reorganization had made things at the workplace more complicated. Stories, metaphors and the use of hypothetical actors pointed to oppositions and ambiguities in the conceptualization of the process.

In parts of the media discourse, actors were pictured as v.rinners and losers. Some actors (beside journalists themselves) were dominating the news; they were often cited or referred to (i.e., politicians, highrankingofficers, certain experts). Others (i.e., ordinary personnel) were often talked about as victims and seldom spoke independently or seemed to act from a position of influence. One conclusion is that agency and responsibility were, in this way, unevenly distributed in the media discourse. Here it is discussed in terms of dilemmas for journalists/journalism, the media and democracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University , 2003. , 280 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 279
Keyword [en]
media and communication, news event, local press, text-analysis, focus groups, ethnography, discourse, social representations, everyday life and understandings, restructuring of a workplace
Keyword [sv]
nyhetsjournalistik, lokalpress, nyhetsförmedling, massmedia
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24028Local ID: 3583ISBN: 91-7373-731-3OAI: diva2:244344
Public defence
2003-09-26, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2014-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Levin, Lena
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Department of Communications StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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