Det svenska undantaget - En kvantitativ innehållsanalys om bilden av Sverige i internationella medier under coronapandemin 2020.
The aim of this study is to examine the international digital media image of Sweden during the corona crisis of 2020. The purpose is to gain knowledge about how the corona pandemic has affected the perception of Sweden and discuss in what way it could continue to affect the country in the future. The study is carried out by investigating the four following research questions: (1) Has the image of Sweden during the corona crisis 2020 been positive, negative or balanced? (2) Which themes and key individuals are defined in the articles? (3) How does the image of Sweden vary between the different countries? (4) Has the image changed or further developed in pace as the pandemic progressed? The approach taken in order to answer these research questions is a quantitative content analysis of articles published in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. The articles used in this study are collected during the months of April and September in the year 2020 and they are collected from The Swedish Institute’s selected articles concerning the corona virus and Sweden. Throughout this study, a total of 392 articles were encoded with the help of the framing theory created by Gaye Tuchman and further developed by Robert M. Entman (1993). According to Entmans definition, frames are about the selection, observance, definition and formulation of a problem. The variables were emanated by several various themes, frames, stereotypes and key individuals. With the four research questions in regard, a conclusion could be drawn that the image of Sweden through this pandemic has been fragmented. The statistics show that most of the articles were neutral. However, we were able to verify that a majority of the articles analyzed in this study were negative. The majority of the articles focused on the Swedish strategy of choice during the pandemic and they often depicted the Swedish citizens’ behavior and the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus. The most frequently used frames had to do with either conflict or responsibility, while the most narrated stereotype was that Swedish citizens are law-abiding. Throughout the study, the Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven and state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell were the key individuals that were mentioned most frequently. When analyzing the results, we could see that it varied depending on two variables, time and origin. For example, more articles were published in April in comparison to those published in September. We could also identify that the articles published in April were categorized as negative while those published in September were categorized as the contrary. The most neutral image of Sweden could be found in the articles published in the United States and France. The articles published in Britain were the most positive, while the ones published in Germany were the most negative. We could also identify that in Germany, America and Britain the most common frames were the responsibility frame and the conflict frame. However, the articles published in France were mostly narrated with the human-interest frame.