Mediatization of terror attacks and city brand image: A study of the Stockholm attack and the ’Last Night in Sweden’ event

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

There is a growing interest within place branding research for how experiences of safety influence the image of the city (e.g. Coaffee and Van Ham, 2008).
Previous research demonstrates that fear is socially constructed and amplified by mass media (Avraham and Ketter, 2008) and social media (Doosti et al., 2016; Jansson, 2018). The realm of media has become more complex in an era characterised as posttruth in which ”objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016).
The research aim in this paper is to examine the mechanisms of how terror attacks in urban environments are mediatized and the consequences for city image. The paper analyses two instances of terror in two Swedish cities as media events (Couldry and Hepp, 2018). The first instance concern the deadly terror attack in Stockholm, 2017, whereas the second instance refer to Donald Trump’s statement of a false terror attack in Malmo. Lefebvre’s (2004) rhythmanalysis approach is adopted to investigate rhythms of Twitter and online news flows. The study demonstrates that the mediatization of the rumored attack in Malmo had greater impact on city image than the actual one. At the time of the event, Malmo city suffered from a negative image, which made the city vulnerable to extremist and populist media narratives. The celebrity status of
Trump and circulation of exaggerated news about Sweden also created much negative publicity and attention. The ambiguity around what had happened open up a
space in which fantasies and conspiracy theories could grow. Real and imaginary elements were woven together in an almost phantasmal way. By contrast, in the Stockholm case there was no ambiguity with regards to the attack and the image of the city was relatively quickly restored.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences

Keywords

  • place branding, mediatization, city image, narrative, rhythm, terror attack
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2018 Dec 7
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventThe 3rd Annual Conference of the International Place Branding Association - Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), Macau, China
Duration: 2018 Dec 52018 Dec 7
Conference number: 3
http://destinationbranding.org/macau/

Conference

ConferenceThe 3rd Annual Conference of the International Place Branding Association
Abbreviated titleIPBA
CountryChina
CityMacau
Period2018/12/052018/12/07
Internet address

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