Prostitutionsdiskurser: En kritisk diskursanalyse af fraværet af prostitutionskunder i den danske medierede debat

Sofie Als

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this master thesis is to examine the Danish public debate on the issue of prostitution, in six nationwide newspapers from January 1st 2010 to December 31st 2010. This gives an empirical corpus of 231 unique newspaper articles. I will conduct a critical discourse analysis of the hegemonic discourses in the Danish prostitution debate with a specific focus on how the customer is constructed in these discourses, by using Norman Faircloughs theory. Subsequently I will explore which challenges these discourses create for communicating about the costumer. The wish to focus on the customer in this thesis is due to the marginal role this aspect plays in the debate on prostitution in Denmark, as well as in international research on the subject. I identify six discourses in the Danish debate. The discourses are: 1) a feminist discourse, 2) a sex‐work discourse, 3) a ‘social problem’ discourse, 4) a forced/voluntary discourse, a 5) ‘sex is a human right’ discourse, and 6) a ‘broadmindedness’ discourse. The first four discourses are dominant in the debate, and the latter to are less dominant. The discourses are fighting for hegemonic power, and seek to prevent each other from being the dominant discourse, which leads to a substantial polarization of the debate. Each individual discourse focuses primarily on the prostitutes, why the communication of the costumer cause some challenges. The main communication challenge is: the focus is on the prostitute and the costumer is either a normal man or a villain within the discourses. This makes it difficult to problematize the costumers, but also what separates the costumer from a non‐costumer, and to articulate the fact that being a prostitution‐customer can have consequences just as well as it can to be a prostitute. Articulating prostitution as a problem on the basis of the customer, can contribute to refine and broaden the debate, and adding a focus to the costumer. Therefore, based on the concepts of priming and framing from framing theory, I suggest possible ways to try to influence the debate to include the customer and refine the Danish debate on prostitution.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages86