Department of Sociology

Media Representations of Ethnic ‘Otherness’ in Elderly Care

A comparative study of Swedish and Finnish daily press reporting on migration, ethnicity and culture-related issues within the context of elderly care from 1995-2008

Primary investigator: Prof. Sandra Torres

Collaborators: Dr. Camilla Nordberg (University of Helsinki) & Dr. Jonas Lindblom (Mälardalen University)

This project departs from the Nordic debate on media representations of ethnic ‘Otherness’ and from the debate on globalization’s implications for different European elderly care regimes and the manner in which they try to adapt to increasing ethnic diversity. It aims to shed light on how media representations of ethnicity, culture, language and migration within the context of Swedish and Finnish elderly care sector are constructed in daily press reporting as well. The project sheds light on what daily press reporting on these issues in both of these countries has focused on, who the reporting assumes the issues at hand affect, who has been asked to comment on them and how the issues in question have been discussed. The empirical material for the Swedish part of the project is constituted of the 101 articles published in Sweden’s biggest daily newspaper between 1995 and 2008. The empirical material for the Finnish part of the project is yet to be collected in its entirety but is estimated to include around 70 articles in Finlan’s biggest daily newspaper for the period in question. The analysis performed so far shows that although ethnicity was first conceived to be a challenge (as far as elderly care recipients were concerned), it is now conceived to be an asset (at least if the focus is on elderly care providers). The project problematizes therefore malleability of the social construction of ethnic ‘Otherness’ and the assumed relevance that ethnicity has for the deliverance of user-friendly elderly care.

Grants: 2008-2009 funded by internal funding awarded by Linköping University, Mälardalen University and the University of Helsinki; in 2009 the project was funded by external funding awarded to the PI (Prof. Torres) by Prof. Eva Jeppsson-Grassman (Linköping University) who is the Project Manager of a Research Programme Grant awarded by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. At present the project is being financed by internal funding from Uppsala University.