Årets ord er Udlændingeservice: En analyse af Udlændingeservices krisekommunikation

Tanja Winsløw

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the summer of 2008 the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) found itself at the centre of attention in a heated debate about the significance of EU rules for Denmark’s immigration policy. The Berlingske Tidende newspaper sparked the debate by alleging that the DIS for years had failed to provide appropriate guidance to couples seeking residency through family reunification. To add further insult to injury the European Court of Justice ruled in the Metock case that non-EU spouses of EU citizens may obtain residence permits without having previously lived in an EU country and that National law is subordinate to whatever is ruled on the European level. The objective of this master thesis is to investigate how the DIS managed the crisis, which image restoration strategies it employed and which discourses it produced. The analysis includes three political parties in order to examine the different discourses that emerged in the debate. Furthermore the objective is to examine how the DIS’ clients evaluate the communication produced by the service during the crisis. Based on Norman Faircloughs Critical Discourse Theory the hypothesis sets out to examine the different discourses produced by the DIS, the Danish Peoples Party, the Danish Red Green Alliance and the Danish Social-Liberal Party. Furthermore the crisis communication of the DIS will be subject to analysis based on William L. Benoits Theory of Image Restoration. The empirical foundation of the investigation is written material from the political parties and the DIS in addition to a questionnaire survey conducted with the primary participation of Danish citizens, who have made use of the services provided by the DIS. The results of the analyses showed three things: 1. Multiple discourses are produced within the order of discourse. The DIS is mainly producing a fallibility discourse, depicting its field of work as complex, which may cause its guidance to be influenced by human error. The DIS is also producing a fellowfeeling discourse portraying the service as a unit and enabling its employees to feel as part of a community. Furthermore the DIS is an exponent of an implicit power discourse manifesting the relationship between the DIS and its clients as rigid and hegemonial. 2. The political parties are mainly producing two conflicting discourses. The Danish Social-Liberal party is producing a discourse focusing on the rights that the European Court ruling establishes for Danish citizens. The Danish Red Green Alliance is implicitly supporting this discourse however its EU scepticism is dominant, which is why it is mainly producing a discourse arguing that national law should never be subordinate to EU law. The Danish Peoples Party is supporting the same EU sceptic discourse as it also opposes EU’s increasing influence on Danish law. The Danish Peoples Party is however opposing the discourse of rights supported by the other two parties. 3. The questionnaire survey indicates a generally negative attitude towards the DIS amongst its clients. Especially DIS’ communication during the crisis caused negative feedback. The personal communication between DIS and its clients received a more positive evaluation.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages155