Charting and challenging digital media convergence practice and rhetoric through longitudinal media population surveys

Anna Westerståhl Stenport, Elias Markstedt, Matthew Crain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article employs national longitudinal media and opinion surveys from Sweden's SOM Institute as a lens to engage media convergence theory during the period 1995 to 2012. Building on rhetorical analysis of SOM questions, the article both concretizes media convergence theory and promotes a reexamination of default categories of media analysis: content, platform, and user behavior, or protocol. By using a triangular vector composition model, the article shows how theories of media convergence can be critically evaluated using SOM questions as a data set and that SOM questions reflect and construct fluid and flexible relationships integral to media convergence theory. SOM's questions regarding emerging media are embedded in the specific historical context of Sweden's striking, though incomplete and contested, digital transformation. This article is the first of its kind to analyze the content of SOM questions; it does not engage in quantitative survey methodology evaluation. Topical foci are news coverage, digitally networked communication, especially the Internet, and digital cinema. The article further gestures to how SOM questions concretize links between media convergence and political engagement, with specific reference to an accompanying rhetoric on agency and activism that is often abstract. To conclude, we discuss some of the larger implications of SOM surveys with respect to changing media convergence discourse in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-156
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Cultural studies
  • Internet use
  • Media convergence
  • Media policy
  • Online political engagement
  • Platform
  • Population surveys
  • Protocol
  • Remediation
  • SOM Institute
  • Sweden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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