Minority Participation in the Public Sphere – A Critical Analysis of Claim-Making on Muslim Rights and Islam in Swedish News Media
Muslim minority rights
Islam in Europe
political claims analysis
politics of recognition
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractAs Muslim communities have become more permanently established in Western European societies, debates around the public practice of Islam in these societies have become more prevalent, while the “global war on terror” rhetoric has aided the construction of Muslim minorities into “Others” along lines of religious and cultural differences. Based on theories of minority participation in the public sphere as part of the political process of contestation over group rights in complex pluralistic political communities, this thesis investigates the debate around Muslim rights and Islam in Sweden during the years 1999 – 2008 as reported by the five largest Swedish daily newspapers. Making use of political claims analysis it looks at the actors, issues, and positions present in the debate and their development over time. It also compares the claim-making of actors with explicit and implicit Muslim identities in order to challenge the category of the “Muslim Other”. The analysis shows that there is considerable participation of institutionalised Muslim minority actors who face changing contexts and discursive opportunity structures in their claim-making. A comparison of claim-making by religious and secular Muslim actors indicates considerable differences between the two groups, pointing out the need to be critically aware that a politics of recognition can mean the homogenisation and reification of minority group identities at the cost of acknowledging their actual heterogeneity.