O for Optimisme: En iagttagelse af Dansk Folkepartis årsmødetaler som politisk kommunikation

Anine Ettrup Gutfelt

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is based on a wonderment that Dansk Folkeparti, as the only political party in recent years, has been able to gain success on the political scene in terms of a still increasing support from the voters. The party builds on a few major issues and is best known for the opposition against the EU and immigration and for a strong national rooting, which offers Dansk Folkeparti a unique position in Danish politics. Nevertheless, looking to the neigh-boring countries shows that the political agenda is not unique, but is found in almost identical forms in countries with a culture similar to the Danish. This calls into question how these major issues connect to a certain meaning that reflects actual states of affairs within the society. The thesis is a second order observation analyzing how the Dansk Folkeparti's articulation of the issues can be seen as political communication in the relation between party and voter. The analysis takes its empirical starting point in the Party's speeches at the annual meetings, since these show how the political leaders define the Party and how they want to be observed by their voters. The analysis consists of three parts each with a specific point of observation, which altogether frames a full analysis of communication. The first part is an observation of how the Party and the voter form a mutual relation and shows how the Party's and the voter's political agenda together can be observed as a shared reference that manifests itself in the major issues as political statements. These are: protection of the weak in society and resistance to the alien (EU and immigration). With the starting point in the Party's central political statements the second part analyses, how these come to the fore as a semantic deployment of concepts and counter-concepts with a specific meaning attached. These political messages can be observed as the information that meets the voter and ties to political communication. At the same time, the analysis of the semantic content shows how the semantic use of central concepts marks a social differentiating between “us” (Dansk Folkeparti and the people) and “them” (the strangers and the elite). The social difference points to a community that is tied to culture and nationality. The social differentiating mirrors the internationalization of society and the increased distance between the people and the decision makers as a threat to the Danish society. To investigate how the semantic meaning is distributed to the voters the third part of the analysis takes a narrative approach. It investigates how the Party communicates itself through the annual meeting speeches and creates an attraction of the voters by deploying the political messages in seductive coherence through a constructed reality. The narrative makes it possible for the Party to include actual events, so the relevance of the political message is not lost to the Party-voter, and the Party therefore can keep its topicality.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages80