Closeness and Distance in Media Reports on the Trollhättan Attack

  • Marta Kolankiewicz
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


This chapter explores the Swedish media reporting on the Trollhättan school attack, in which a pupil and two school staff members were killed and another pupil injured by a young man. The day after the attack the police declared that the attack had been a hate crime, since the victims had been selected because of their skin colour. I am interested in the first twenty-four hours after the attack—the time from when the news about the attack broke until the moment that a hegemonic knowledge about the attack was established—and claim that the media played a special role in installing frames, through which the audience could look at the event. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of frames and Lilie Chouliaraki’s theories of media discourses as construing suffering as being worthy or not of the spectator’s pity, I identify three different frames installed by the media during this time: of the compassionate spectatorship, of a threatening suburb and of a racist act. I analyse these frames and explore the possibilities they offer for audiences in terms of distance to the suffering other.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Kolankiewicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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