Representations of the Other in Norwegian Debate Programmes 1989–1997
The issue of immigration began to take a central position in the Norwegian public sphere by the second half of the 1980s. This issue was the primary topic during the Norwegian local political election in 1987, in which the Progress Party (FrP), known for its anti-immigration views, gained a strong popular vote. For the first time within Norwegian political history, FrP emerged as a political force that would be recognized in the years to come (Hagelund 2003).1 The increasing impact of immigration can also be traced to media practices in which immigration has become a subject of considerable focus. As will be shown, no other significant theme within the Norwegian public sphere was so massively debated on Norwegian debate programmes as that related to migrants and immigration. A debate programme might, for instance, attract huge attention nationwide. Programmes such as Holmgang, broadcast by TV2, drew nearly 500,000 thousands viewers weekly, a huge number in a country with the population of four and a half million.2 Norwegian debate programmes thus became a major forum for debate concerning immigration-related issues within Norwegian society (Syvertsen 1997, Alghasi 1999). The chapter examines the practices carried out by these debate programmes in relation to the issue of immigration.