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“How is he entitled to say this?”: Constructing the identities of experts, ordinary people, and presenters in Swedish television series on climate change


In this article, we analyse mediated representations of elite and non-elite voices about climate change, by juxtaposing two Swedish non-fiction television series: one narrates the work of environmental scientists, the other discusses climate change with diverse citizens in a vox pop format. We argue that the discursive practices of these programmes reproduce the antagonistic subject positions of experts and ordinary people, allocating them radically different positions of power in relation to climate change. Whereas the experts are presented as actors of change with the knowledge to solve the crisis, ordinary people are shown as passive recipients of advice and moral judgment, in need of change. In addition, we highlight the role of media professionals in these articulations. The article shows how these subject positions support persuasionist strategies, but also how the elite/non-elite juxtaposition tends to exclude the latter from a meaningful engagement on equal terms.

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Fachgebiete der Zeitschrift:
Sozialwissenschaften, Kommunikationswissenschaften, Massenkommunikation, Kommunikation in Politik und Öffentlichkeit