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Brita Ytre-Arne

Media researcher at the University of Bergen

Article published: Women’s suffrage in the media

Finally, my article from the women’s suffrage project is out. It is published in the Norwegian interdisciplinary gender studies journal Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning.

The article (in Norwegian) gives an analysis of how newspapers and women’s journals covered parliamentary debates on women’s suffrage in Norway from 1890 to 1913. Political journalism changed considerably in this period, and the question of women’s suffrage went from being highly controversial to practically uncontested in the space of a few years. Yet, there was remarkable consistency in the discourses put forward by the media, as newspapers continued to evaluate the question of women’s political participation in terms of women’s roles as wives and mothers.

Postdoctoral project: Responding to welfare state services through social media

Between November 2012 and August 2016 I have worked on a postdoctoral research project as part of a larger interdisciplinary research project called Responding to welfare state services: An analysis of users, media and public institutions. It is organized by the Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Studies and the University of Bergen, and funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

While the larger project will analyse various forms of user responses to welfare state services, my postdoctoral project will focus on the role of social media as an arena for debating and responding to the welfare state. As the internet has become an integral aspect of everyday life and a crucial site for information and debate, more research is needed on how internet use might contribute to public opinion on a fundamental societal institutions – such as the welfare state. For instance, the widespread use of social media warrants attention to how the communicative possibilities and challenges of social media might affect people’s relationships with the welfare state.

The main research question for my project is: What is the impact of social media on 1) user communication with welfare state services, 2) the sharing of experiences between welfare service users and 3) formation of public opinion about the welfare state? The three-part research question will be answered through a case study approach. I will draw on various qualitative methods including interviews and discourse analysis, and on theoretical perspectives from public sphere theory, sociology and audience and reception research.

Article in Feminist Media Studies

The last article originating from my PhD project will be published in Feminist Media Studies vol. 14(3), which means that it will appear in print in July 2014. As that is a long way ahead, I am happy that the journal has an iFirst publication scheme. My article is already published online, and for a limited time period the full text is freely available to anyone following this link. The article is called “Positioning the self” and it is about identity and women’s magazine reading.

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