Magnusson abstract

The far-right and immigration discourse in the Swedish parliamentary debates

We study the effects of a radical right party entering a national parliament, on the parliament discourse.

We follow the classification developed by Meguide (2008) and use a probabilistic topic model approach to analyze the 300,000 speeches delivered in the Swedish parliament between 1994 and 2017. Our results indicate that immigration became a more prevalent topic in party leader debates when the Sweden Democrats entered the parliament in 2010. The other parties started to address immigration more, but still not to the extent that the Sweden Democrats did. In 2015, as Sweden faced a migration crisis, immigration became a more salient issue in the parliamentary debates. This could be seen as an external shock that forced the mainstream parties to put more emphasis on the topic of immigration. We conclude that the mainstream parties used a partly dismissive, partly adversarial strategy in their speeches when the SD entered the parliament. The migration crises in 2015 made them focus more on immigration and they thereby adopted a more adversarial strategy.

A preprint of the paper can be found here: