Johanna Arnesson

Johanna Arnesson

Participant in 2015
Work history 2005-2013: Organizational administrator at Djurens Rätt (Animal Rights Sweden), non-profit organisation and the largest animal rights organisation in Scandinavia.

2003-2004: Office assistant at the Institute for Commissioned Education (ICE) at Ersta Sköndal University College, Stockholm, Sweden.
Study history Current (since fall semester 2013): Doctoral student at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG), University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

2011-2012: Media and Communication Studies (60 ECTS), Master programme at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG), University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

2008-2009: Media and Communication Studies (90 ECTS), undergraduate studies at the Department of Media Studies (JMK), Stockholm University, Sweden.

2003-2004: Portuguese Studies (60 ECTS), undergraduate studies at the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (ISPLA), Stockholm University, Sweden.

2001-2002: Gender Studies (60 ECTS), undergraduate studies at the School of Culture and Education at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.

2000: Philosophy (30 ECTS), undergraduate studies at the School of Culture and Education at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Phd Projects



The research project is situated in the field of media discourse studies, centring on how the media constitutes a political public sphere; a ‘crucial site for the definition and re-definition of meanings’ in society (Carvalho, 2005). Fairclough (1995) argues that given the focal position of mass media in contemporary social systems, their relevance to the study of sociocultural change should not be understated. The PhD project at hand focuses on how media discourse historically has shaped, redefined, and converged notions of citizenship and political participation in relation to consumer identities. Recent decades has been characterized by a ‘personalization of politics’ (Bennett, 2012), often mobilized around different ways of ‘making change’ and ‘saving lives’ through consumption choices and lifestyle values. Thus, the idea of ethical consumerism is expressed in practices which turn the act of shopping into a political statement, a form of ‘commodity activism’ created by the fetishization of social action as a marketized commodity (Banet-Weiser & Mukherjee, 2012). Using the term ‘ethical’ instead of ‘political’ to describe these practices is, as Lewis and Potter (2011) suggests, a way of highlighting a shift in the nature and state of contemporary consumer politics. The ‘commodification of morality’ (Fisher, 2007) generates a certain value in Western societies, associating brands and social identities with ethical lifestyles. Hence, the very identity of being an ethical consumer becomes a product in itself, through what Gunderson (2014) refer to as ‘a third layer of commodity fetishism’.

The focus of the analysis is mediated ethical consumerism, and methodologically the project draws on the discourse-historical approach (DHA) within critical discourse studies, exploring how discourses, genres and texts change in relation to sociopolitical change. A central focus for the DHA is how texts manifest traces of differing ideological fights for dominance and hegemony, and thus become ‘sites of social struggle’ (Reisigl & Wodak, 2009). Based on empirical material from Swedish print media, from the late 1980’s to the present, as well as contemporary blogs and advertising, the research design is an attempt to capture ‘critical discourse moments’ (Carvalho, 2008) and analyse the issue development of ethical consumerism in the context of awareness-raising campaigns and commercial marketing. Important to stress in this context is how ethical consumption “[…] depends on the activities of political claimsmakers who load consumption with political content” (Balsiger, 2010, p. 312), and how those activities impact notions of everyday political responsibility and participation.

Balsiger, P. (2010). Making Political Consumers: The Tactical Action Repertoire of a Campaign for Clean Clothes. Social Movement Studies, 9(3), 311-329. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2010.493672
Banet-Weiser, S., & Mukherjee, R. (2012). Introduction: Commodity Activism in Neoliberal Times. In R. Mukherjee & S. Banet-Weiser (Eds.), Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times (pp. 1-17). New York: New York University Press.
Bennett, W. L. (2012). The Personalization of Politics: Political Identity, Social Media, and Changing Patterns of Participation. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 644(1), 20-39. doi: 10.1177/0002716212451428
Carvalho, A. (2005). Representing the politics of the greenhouse effect. Critical Discourse Studies, 2(1), 1-29. doi: 10.1080/17405900500052143
Carvalho, A. (2008). Media(Ted) Discourse and Society. Journalism Studies, 9(2), 161-177. doi: 10.1080/14616700701848162
Fairclough, N. (1995). Media discourse. London: Edward Arnold.
Fisher, C. (2007). Selling Coffee, or Selling Out?: Evaluating Different Ways to Analyze the Fair-Trade System. Culture & Agriculture, 29(2), 78-88. doi: 10.1525/cag.2007.29.2.78
Gunderson, R. (2014). Problems with the defetishization thesis: ethical consumerism, alternative food systems, and commodity fetishism. Agriculture and Human Values, 31(1), 109-117. doi: 10.1007/s10460-013-9460-8
Lewis, T., & Potter, E. (2011). Introducing ethical consumption. In T. Lewis & E. Potter (Eds.), Ethical consumption : a critical introduction (pp. 3-23). London: Routledge.
Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (2009). The discourse-historical approach (DHA). In M. Meyer & R. Wodak (Eds.), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis (2 ed., pp. 87-121). Los Angeles: SAGE.

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