Mika Hietanen: “‘Sorry about the mess here in Sweden’ – A Viral Road from Words to Action in Social Media”

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - 6-K1005 (Mallas salong)
  • Organiser: Department of Literature
  • Contact person: Mats Rosengren
  • Seminarium

The General Seminar - Rhetoric

Mika Hietanen presents a work in progress on a publicity campaign by the Sweden Democrats in the Stockholm underground. The manuscript is available in the the Higher Seminar's reading binder as from January 18.

Chair: Mats Rosengren

On August 3rd 2015 the passengers at an underground station in Stockholm were greeted by an ostentatious campaign by the Sweden Democrats that immediately caused anger, and soon flooded the news feeds on social media. The next day, a few thousand took part in a public demonstration after which an angry mob tore down the posters of the campaign. Through a chronological narrative I walk the reader through the initial reactions in social media. I focus on Twitter and Flashback Forum and the beginning of the counter-movement leading up to the climactic expression of protest. Through what kind of language use was the crowd formed online, and how did the agitators justify their way of reasoning? With what kind of rhetoric was a mob-mentality created that within 36 hours led to a physical crowd-formation and an unlawful action of protest that is atypical in a Nordic context? Methodologically, I consult crowd-theory, neo-Aristotelian rhetorical criticism, and argumentation analysis.