“We live in a time of polarisation” is something we frequently hear in the debate. However, it is often unclear what polarisation actually refers to, which is why it may be beneficial to take a closer look at this concept. Together with three colleagues, political science professor Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson will study the scope of political polarisation in Sweden and its impact on democracy. The results will be presented in the 2021 SNS Democracy Report to be published next spring.

“Polarisation is one of the terms used extensively to describe and explain current political transformations. We want to study what those using this term refer to and determine whether it is accurate to say that Sweden is more polarised today than previously. Are Swedish politics more or less polarised compared to other countries? And what may be the role of polarisation in relation to future Swedish political developments?”, says Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, chairperson of the “2021 SNS Democracy Report: Polarisation in Sweden”.

The researchers will analyse and systematise existing knowledge on polarisation, focusing on the media, party system, parliament and among voters. The report will present several methods for measuring whether and how the level of polarisation has shifted in Sweden. It will also discuss the importance of polarisation with regards to how democracies operate.


Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson (chairperson), professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg

Torbjörn Bergman, professor of political science at Umeå University

Annika Bergström, professor of journalism, media and communication at the University of Gothenburg

Johan Hellström, associate professor of political science at Umeå University

research director

Stefan Sandström, stefan.sandstrom@sns.se, tel: +46 (0)8-507 025 64

project manager

Nina Bruce, nina.bruce@sns.se, tel: +46 (0)8-507 025 74


The report will be published in the spring of 2021.


The report is funded by grants from the Swedish Research Council and the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

sns democracy report 2017

In 2017 SNS published SNS Democracy Report 2017. Cooperation and Conflict in a Parliamentary Democracy Research.