Den Socialdemokratiske Værdifortælling: En diskursanalyse af Socialdemokraternes kommunikation af den økonomiske politik

Kathrine Klærke

Student thesis: Master thesis


The main purpose of the thesis was to examine the communication of the Danish Social Democrats concerning the heavy financial reforms of the Thorning-Schmidt government in order to determine, whether or not it is consistent with traditional social democratic values. Therefore, a critical discourse analysis of the communication of the two leading social democrats Mette Frederiksen (Minister of Employment) and Bjarne Corydon (Minister of Finance) was carried out. Based on the analysis of four feature articles and one interview it was possible to identify four main discourses. First of all, the five texts are influenced by a strong economic discourse, which supports the efforts of the Social Democrats to stage the Thorning-Schmidt government as an economic responsible government, who is able to lead Denmark safely through the economic crisis. However, in order to do so financial reforms of central social benefits are necessary. In close connection to the economic discourse, a welfare discourse was identified, which primarily is applied in Corydon’s texts. Here, the welfare discourse appears to be strictly under the ruling of the economic discourse, because the welfare and social benefits are described as being highly dependent on a strong and stable economy. Overall, it was determined that the communication of Bjarne Corydon underlines the fact that his primary focus is to secure economic stability, which, according to him, means that reforms are necessary in order to be able to afford the welfare state in the future. However, in his support for cutbacks on social benefits it was concluded that Corydon, in his choice of rhetoric, looks down on the unemployed by hinting that people on social benefits are incompetent, because they are not able to support themselves. Furthermore, it was stated that all five texts are influenced by a value discourse that is used to describe the relationship between the economic reforms and the social democratic value system. Even though, the value discourse is often applied and verbalised it was determined that it also appears subordinate to the dominating economic discourse, since it is only used to “decorate” the financial reforms with social democratic values. In close connection to the value discourse it was possible to identify a rights-and-responsibility discourse in Mette Frederiksen’s two feature articles. The discourse is used to describe the need for a greater balance between the individual’s right to claim social benefits and the individual’s responsibility to contribute to the welfare state by being in employment and paying taxes. Hereby, the thesis argued that Frederiksen is activating a liberal frame, which claims that you have to do your duty and take responsibility for your own life before you can claim your rights. Additionally, it was concluded that both Frederiksen’s and Corydon’s focus on the unemployed is to be viewed in connection with the on-going public debate, where the general sympathy in society has changed from the unemployed on social benefits to the “hardworking” salary earners, who contributes to the welfare state. Finally, the thesis was able to conclude that the Social Democrats are communicating a value based narrative stating that the financial reforms are necessary in order to rebuild the economy, which means that more people should be able to provide for themselves instead of living of social benefits. However, this narrative is not believed to be consistent with the social democratic values. On the contrary, it was estimated that the narrative is primarily based upon a liberal value system, where the society rewards those who work hard at the expense of the unemployed. Overall, it was concluded that the Social Democrats are acting as a market-oriented party, who tries to adjust its political products to the demand of the political consumers at the expense of the party’s traditional value system.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages89