Debatten om privatisering: Før og nu

Aske Hougaard & Morten Mommsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


dissertation focuses on privatization of public limited companies in Denmark from the early 1980ies until today, thus answering the following problem statement: “How has the pragmatic attitude towards privatization been challenged by competing political concerns in the Danish debate, and what communicative challenges has this instituted in relation to future privatizations, particularly focusing on the privatization of DONG?” The problem statement is answered through an analysis of the development in the perception of the phenomenon of privatization combined with three case studies of the privatizations of Tele Danmark and Scandlines as well as the attempt to privatize DONG. Our analytical strategy is based on a combination of Michel Foucault’s genealogical analysis and Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory. The dissertation’s empirical foundation is constituted by written material and a number of qualitative interviews with former and current civil servants as well as executives from the relevant public limited companies. The genealogical analysis establishes that privatization was initially closely linked to ideological struggles between the political wings in Denmark. In the early 1990ies the ideological statements were replaced by consensus, and a pragmatic perspective on privatizations emerged in the wake of the Ministry of Finance’s publication of Experiences with public limited companies in 1993. The New Public Management wave promoted the separation of public and private interests and introduced a new raison d’état. Through our discourse analyses of the three case studies, we demonstrate that the phenomenon of privatization has been re-politicized from the mid 1990ies. A number of alternative concerns have questioned the pragmatic, economical considerations that have primarily been related to privatization of public limited companies. The re-politicization indicates that influential political concerns such as questions of national feeling, environmental issues and national security should be addressed to avoid opposition from citizens as well as political stakeholders when preparing privatizations of public limited companies.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages134