Når bistand bliver business: En hegemonianalyse af danskerne gennem en diskursanalyse af Danmarks udviklingsbistand til Vietnam

Casper Felt

Student thesis: Master thesis


English title: “From Aid to Trade – A Hegemonial Analysis of the Danes through a Discourse Analysis of Denmark’s Development Aid to Vietnam.” The point of departure for this thesis is Slavoj Zizek’s claim that liberal capitalism is considered the ‘real’ of the modern society. This means that all challenges to the system are answered by the argument that a radical change of society will end up in a new Gulag. This thesis asks the question, whether society is in a deadlock as serious as Zizek claims and asks whether the hegemony is as strong as Zizek suggests. In order to answer this question, this thesis analyse the Danish development aid’s impact on the Vietnamese judicial system using the theory of Ernesto Laclau and Zizek. Even though a single development aid programme, the Justice Partnership Programme, is not enough to make conclusions on all of the Danish society, the conclusions from the analysis of the aid function as symptoms of the Danish society in general. The development aid was chosen as the primary object of analysis, because it is often mentioned as neutral help to other nations, where nothing is wanted in return. This thesis investigates how the development aid is described in Danish strategy documents, Vietnamese reform plans, programme documents and interviews conducted in Vietnam. Through the study, the thesis identifies cooperation as a central nodal point, which is seen as the main signifier of the relationship between Denmark and Vietnam. To analyse the signification of this nodal point, it is analysed how empty signifiers are forming a chain of equivalences around the nodal point. However, it is observable that there is a significant difference between how the cooperation is described in official documents and by my interviewees, which indicates a battle between two competing discourses, where one is being held away from the public debate. By analysing how the development aid is described, this thesis is able to conclude that the way the Danish foreign aid is planned and implemented is a symptom on a hegemonic condition on the way we consider society ought to work. Furthermore, an ideological battleground can be observed, which leads to the conclusion that the present Western hegemony is expansive.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages88