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Ukraina- yttre makters slagfält? : Kvantitativ studie av narrativ i svensk media relaterat till konflikten i Ukraina 2014.

  • Stense, Fredrika
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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AbstractIs Ukraine the battlefield of external powers? The 2014 conflict in Ukraine was characterized by multiple media narratives, which shaped the portrayal and understanding of the conflict. Was it a geographical conflict between Ukraine and Russia, or a proxy war between the West and Russia? Control of the information arena is central to contemporary warfare, which marks research on the conflict in Ukraine. Strategic narratives are a central tool in hybrid warfare, aimed at influencing decision-makers and public opinion. The research on the conflict is rigid, but as articulated in this paper, there is an issue with the perspectives that are addressed. On the one hand, macro studies are conducted to understand how the information arena affects the possibilities to influence warfare, as well as the narratives that characterize Western and Russian perspectives. Moreover, micro-studies that aim to clarify how culture, history and geographical proximity influence the shaping of the conflict, are also common in the research field. The study's research problem is based on the lack of a perspective that bridges the gap between the micro and macro perspectives.  The aim of the study is to create a deeper understanding of the Western narratives that portray the Ukrainian conflict in 2014. Mervi Pantti's research in this area is the main focus of the work, and her theory of three narratives forms the basis of the theoretical framework. Pantti argues that the conflict is portrayed according to three narratives: civil war, geographical conflict and proxy war. The aim is to test how well Pantti's theory applies to Swedish media and to clarify whether Ukraine is the battlefield of external powers. Quantitative content analysis is used to measure the occurrence of certain words/concepts, to determine whether the Swedish media portrayed the conflict as a proxy war. The results show that two of Panti's narratives were prominent, through two media perspectives. Through reports of daily events, a geographical conflict was portrayed. But in the media content that is discussion-oriented, a proxy war was depicted. Within the narrative of proxy war, the results show that over time, the focus on Cold War alike rhetoric increased. The discussion clarifies what the change in media rhetoric entails and what the narratives might influence. The framing of a proxy war affects the West and our involvement in the conflict, demonstrating the importance of studying and understanding media narratives in modern warfare. For further research, the relevance of clarifying the Western narrative in order to understand its origins is discussed. Is it the narratives that govern, or the objectives?

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