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Marja Åkerström



Den kosmetiska demokratin : En studie av den politiska diskursiva praktiken i Sjöbo och Ystad

The Cosmetic Democracy


  • Marja Åkerström

Summary, in English

The object of this thesis is to describe, analyze and understand the terms and meanings of the public information and the political communication for local democracy, in today´s media landscape, out of the interaction between the main parties of the local society in Sjöbo and Ystad and from the stand point of earlier research and theories. The study has analyzed the actions performed by citizens, politicians, employees and journalists as well as the scenes for this information and communication. The interplay is a never ending power struggle between the three parties, concerning the accessibility of information and communication, especially to the kind that is given and takes place in informal, nonofficial rooms and channels which are not publicly accessible. Theories by M Weber, E Goffman, Z Bauman, M Foucault, J Habermas etc are being used. Case study method has given rise to three themes. The first describes how the increasing demands of rationalization, are displayed in the everyday practice, how it manifests in the interaction between the three parties, where processes of rationalization undermine the possibilities of dialogue. The second theme describes how the three parties use different strategies in order to obtain or keep the power of the information and the communication and thus the power of the politics, how the definitions of the main parties can be deconstructed and how the power can shift from one actor to another, depending on available power positions. Those in power withdraw themselves from communication with the citizens in different ways,by the use of different power techniques, which leads to a dynamic resistance where both journalists and citizens work out counter strategies. The public speech about the need to revitalize the civic sphere has been prominent for a long time. The third theme thus describes this promising speech of the public information and the political communication, how it has been handled and what the consequences are. The empirical material displays that the holders of the traditional power positions, tend to polish this visible side. The cosmetic considerations have proved to be the most significant ones in the studied practice and do play a significant part in the contemporary discursive practice as well as it terms the public information and the political communication. Those in power try to project the cosmetic democracy and the speech of new opportunities, on democracy, on the importance of communication and information and of participating, have become necessary ingredients in the cosmetic democracy, which is increasing. This does not mean that all democracy being exercised is cosmetic. Nevertheless, the surface and the speech of democracy become more distant from the content, by all the talk of its splendid qualities.


  • Institutionen för kommunikation och medier
  • Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap






Lund Studies in Media and Communcation






Lund University


  • Media and Communications


  • public information
  • Democracy
  • discursive practice
  • cosmetic action
  • Modernity
  • power strategies
  • political communication
  • cosmetic democracy




  • Gunilla Jarlbro
  • Fredrik Miegel


  • ISSN: 1104-4330
  • ISBN: 91-7267-324-9


22 oktober 2010




SOL-centrums hörsal, Helgonabacken 12, Lund


  • Keith Roe (professor)