Managing stake and accountability in Prime Ministers' accounts of the
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CitationSakki, Inari. Pettersson, Katarina. (2018). Managing stake and accountability in Prime Ministers' accounts of the. Journal of community and applied social psychology, 28 (6) , 406-429. 10.1002/casp.2358.
Taking a (critical) discursive psychological approach, the present study explores the identity management of the Finnish and Swedish Prime Ministers (PM) in relation to the “refugee crisis” and their countries' asylum policies. By taking a longitudinal approach and analysing the PMs' accounts of the “refugee crisis” from 1‐year period, we focused on the ways rhetorical devices related to ethos, logos, and pathos were used to manage the issues of stake and accountability, as well as on the ways in which categories were worked up to serve particular functions. Our comparative analysis demonstrated significant similarities in the Finnish and Swedish PMs' talk, especially with regard to the transfer from a discourse of pathos and ethos, describing refugees in terms of individualism and humaneness, to a discourse of logos, emphasizing rationality, justifying sharpened immigration policies, and homogenizing refugees. However, the different historical paths of the two countries' immigration policies and the specific political situation had implications for the PMs' discourse. The Swedish PM could feasibly scapegoat the Sweden Democrats and the political right in opposition, whereas the Finnish PM, with the populist radical right as a government partner, engaged more heavily in distinctions between “real, needing” and “false, undeserving” refugees. We argue for the longitudinal approach in the analysis of political discourse, as such an approach allows to identify the changes and continuities in the discourse, as well as to grasp the dialogical interplay between the discourse and its context.