Os og dem: En kritisk diskursanalyse af indvandrerdebatten i udvalgte danske medier i nyere tid

Ana Ilinca Mihai

Student thesis: Master thesis


During the last 50 years, Denmark has changed a lot, due to the increased globalisation, the country’s membership of the European Union, and also the amplified immigration. In the 1960’s, Denmark had an upturn in the economy and it resulted in a scarcity of labour. People form several countries, such as Turkey, Pakistan and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia were invited to work in the country, as guest workers. Some of them returned home after a period, but most of them stayed. Later, more people immigrated to Denmark and today, almost 10 per cent of Denmark’s population is represented by immigrants and their descendants. This means that there is an increased attention on this issue, both on the political stage, but also in the media. The main goal of this thesis is to find out how the two Danish newspapers, Ekstra Bladet and Politiken are dealing with the debate on immigrants. Another important aspiration is to find out which consequences this debate might have for the society. The theoretical framework for this thesis is based on critical discourse analysis, with a focus on the method used by the British scholar, Norman Fairclough. His three - dimensional conception of discourse is used as the basis for the analysis. Further, the thesis also draws on the French philosopher Michel Foucault and his views on power/knowledge, subject and truth. The method used in the thesis is a qualitative research method, where the focus is on the analysis of five newspaper articles. Three of them were published by the Danish tabloid newspaper, Ekstra Bladet, and the other two are two feature articles published by Politiken. The analysis of the five articles shows that, on one side, the articles written in Ekstra Bladet are very negative in their description of immigrants. Words such as: they, them, Muslims, strangers are used for a description of the foreigners, while the Danes are referred to as we, us, or the Danes. This continuous division into two separate groups, us and them, results in a marginalisation of the ethnic minorities, not only in the media, but also in the society. On the other side, the analysis concludes that Politiken is much more positive when it deals with the issue of immigrants. The two feature articles do not focus on a division into us vs. them, but, on the contrary, the immigrants are viewed as a part of the Danish society. Moreover, they are a part of the debate, by participating in it. Furthermore, the negative description of the immigrants in the Danish media might have several negative consequences for the society. One of them is that immigrants will never become fully integrated in the Danish society, as long as they are not included in the community by the media, and as long as they are constantly referred to by using words such as the others or the strangers. Another consequence of this negativity in the media is that, the Danish population only gets a very blurred and misleading picture of immigrants and therefore becomes frightened of them. Nevertheless, by including the immigrants into the society and into the debate, and by gaining an insight into new cultures, and developing a better understanding of others, the Danish society could develop further, and become more homogeneous, rather then a society divided into several ethnic groups. Denmark will be a better place to live in, for everybody. But this is only possible by trying to put oneself in the shoes of the other, and trying to see if us and them could maybe become a common we.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages103