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Swedish Stories of the Neighbour Across the Baltic Sea: A Narrative Media Analysis of Swedish Reporting on Lithuania


  • Anna Olsson

Summary, in English

This thesis identifies ten main narratives related to Lithuania in the reporting of five major Swedish newspapers between 2010-2012, and investigates how these narratives have been discursively constructed and why they might have been chosen to serve as a frame of reference for Swedish readers. Through narrative analysis and a theoretical framework including the concepts of ‘narrative’, ‘collective identity’, ‘national stereotypes’ and ‘othering’, main narratives are identified and analysed. The identified narratives can be summarized into master narratives related to Lithuania’s position on the mental map of Europe as perceived by Swedish media.

The study shows that the identified narratives often present Lithuania as a “surprisingly favourable country” and negative stereotypes are confronted (both to be dismissed and confirmed). Common bonds between Sweden and Lithuania are stressed. Lithuania’s EU- and Baltic identity is mostly emphasised, but when Lithuania is depicted as failing to distance itself from what is perceived as values connected to Europe’s temporal ‘other’, its past, Lithuania’s identity as an Eastern European ‘demi-other’ is discursively constructed. Elements conveying closeness to Sweden is however also then present. Media narratives are shaped according to what Swedish readers might find viable and important. Narratives on Lithuania thus in some sense mirror (and reproduce) Swedish culture and fulfils the role of challenging or confirming values and norms connected to the Swedish national self-image.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • stereotypes
  • Sweden
  • Swedish media
  • Lithuania
  • image of Lithuania
  • media
  • narratives
  • stories
  • collective identity
  • othering
  • national images
  • Litauen


  • Barbara Törnquist-Plewa