Hellström, Anders, and Peter Hervik. ‘Feeding the Beast: Nourishing Nativist Appeals in Sweden and in Denmark’. Journal of International Migration and Integration, vol. 15, no. 3, Aug. 2014, pp. 449–467.
Sweden and Denmark share a similar socio-political structure, yet these two countries demonstrate two distinct discourses on immigration. This article focuses on the tone of the debate in Denmark and Sweden concerning immigration and national identity. If the tone of debate is shaped by a language of fear, we argue, this predisposes people to vote for anti-immigration parties. Our analysis highlights the position of anti-immigration parties; hence, the Sweden Democrats (SD) in Sweden and the Danish People’s Party (DPP) in Denmark. We use frame analysis to detect recurrent frames in the media debate concerning the SD and the DPP in the political competition over votes. Our material concentrates on the run-up to the European Parliamentary (EP) elections of 2004 and 2009, in total 573 articles in ten major Danish and Swedish newspapers. We show that the harsh tone of the debate and the negative dialogue risks leading to the construction of beasts that are impossible to negotiate with. In the Swedish political debate, the SD is highly stigmatized as the beast (the extreme other) in Swedish politics and this stigma is used by the SD in the mobilization of votes. In Denmark the religion of Islam as such plays a similar role and provides the DPP with an identity. We conclude that we are confronted with a two-faced beast that feeds on perceptions of the people as ultimately afraid of what are not recognized as native goods.