Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Alternative Media and the Notion of Anti-Systemness: Towards an Analytical Framework

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Abstract:  A range of alternative media outlets focusing on criticizing immigration politics and mainstream media have emerged in Sweden in recent years. Although they have quite different ideological profiles, they share a clear and critical focus on immigration and mainstream journalistic representations of reality. Their message is that mainstream media conceal or distort information about negative societal and cultural consequences of immigration and that mainstream journalists have teamed up with the political elites and engage in witch-hunts of critics, while ignoring abuses by those in power. Such media outlets (especially online participatory media) need to be analyzed in the light of their position as self-perceived correctives of traditional media. There has been a remarkable surge of alternative media in Sweden with these traits in common during the past few years, and it is important to be able to discuss these media together as a phenomenon, while at the same time taking their differences into account. In relation to this, I argue that the notion of anti-systemness is useful in discussions of the impact these alternative media may (or may not) have on public discourse. In the article, I present a matrix that distinguishes between different types of anti-systemness: ideological anti-systemness and relational anti-systemness. The article therefore mainly presents a theoretical argument, rather than empirical findings, with the aim of pointing to a way forward for research about alternative media.

Keywords:  alternative media; anti-systemness; counter-publics; ICAM; immigration; journalism; media distrust; polarization



© Kristoffer Holt. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.