“Is Sweden Finally Waking Up?”
Debating the 2018 Swedish National Election on 4chan
Today’s ever evolving media landscape offers a multitude of ways to consume and spread political information and opinions, especially in election times. Yet in this diverse media ecosystem, not all communication occurs in the public sphere. This study explores how the 2018 Swedish national election was discussed in a less accessible international online space associated with alt-right ideology and profoundly offensive content, with focus on how political positions were debated and expressed. The analytical approach applied sees participants in the discussions as members of an electronic tribe, which in turn is situated along an influential, yet often overlooked, hybridized flow of communication that defies previous models of analysis. Results suggest that while support for right-wing political parties and politics is prevalent on the site and is expressed using a common protocol, positions are also debated internally, sometimes adopted only to later be abandoned, highlighting the non-fixed, fleeting aspects of online existence.