Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Political Science

Advisor

John Bowman

Subject Categories

Other Political Science

Keywords

immigration, Sweden, rhetoric, political parties, right-wing party influence, party competition

Abstract

The Sweden Democrats’ anti-immigration rhetoric has gained increased influence over Swedish politics in recent years as mainstream parties have adopted an increasingly restrictive attitude towards immigration. Despite this rapprochement to the Sweden Democrats, mainstream parties continue to articulate their opposition to the party. My thesis examines if and how the Sweden Democrats have impacted mainstream parties’ immigration rhetoric in their election manifestos, and if changes on immigration postures have impacted political issues related to immigration, such as foreign policy and welfare; I also assess if the Sweden Democrats have introduced new policy issues and views to the political discourse. I discover that, while the Sweden Democrats have successfully impacted the debate on immigration and directly related issues by making mainstream parties more restrictive, the party has been unable to introduce new political issues or influence mainstream parties’ positions on topics which do not relate to immigration. I further conclude that the convergence between the Sweden Democrats and mainstream parties occurs in both directions; while mainstream parties are moving closer to the Sweden Democrats’ immigration posture, the Sweden Democrats are also becoming more mainstream by developing policy positions on issues other than immigration.

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