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Research projects

Press Conferences as Public Arena

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Göran Eriksson

Research subject

During the first half of the 20th century press conferences took place "off the record" as irregular meetings between the Prime Minister and a few editors. Nowadays press conferences are commonly occurring activities within the government. There is however so far not much research on Swedish press conferences. The overall aim of the research project is to analyze press conferences as an interaction arena in the political public sphere. The first purpose is to explore the interaction and the dynamics in press conferences. Journalists employ different techniques in order to exert power: asking challenging questions, trying to interrupt, repeating critical questions. But the politicians too have practical strategies at hand when it comes to moderating confrontation. The project is built on theories concerning the interview as a form of institutional discourse, on analyses of questions and answers, and the territorial power in situated talk. The second purpose is to analyze how the politician/the Press Secretary prepares for the press conference: how to handle the communication, how to design the political issue. This study has an ethnographic approach. The third purpose is to follow up how the information presented during the press conference is recontextualized by the journalists in the media: how utterances are edited in the news production. This study requires a focus on dialogism and intertextuality.


Eriksson, Göran, Larsson, Larsåke och Moberg Ulla (2013) Politikernas arena: En studie om presskonferenser på regeringsnivå [The Politicians’ Arena: A study of governmental press conferences], Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Eriksson, Göran och Östman, Johan (2013) Cooperative or adversarial? Journalists’ enactment of the watchdog function in political news production”. International Journal of Press/Politics 18(3): 304-324.

Eriksson, Göran and Eriksson, Mats (2012) Managing Political Crisis: An Interactional Approach to “Image Repair” in Political Press Conferences, Journal of Communication Management 16 (3):264-277.

Eriksson, Göran (2011) Follow-up questions in political press conferences, Journal of Pragmatics 43(14): 3331-3344.

Larsson, Larsåke (2012) From yearly to daily press meetings: The development of the government press relations in Sweden. Public Relations Inquiry 1(3): 257-283.

Moberg, Ulla och Eriksson, Göran (2013) Managing ideological differences in joint political press conferences: A study of the strategic use of the personal pronoun ‘we’. Journal of Language and Politics 12(3): 315-334.