Sundhedsstyring: Kunsten at lede borgerne

Kathrine Stadil Henriksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis stems from an interest in how health has been articulated and managed over time. As well as whether nutrition labels are useful as control technologies, in order to improve citizen’s health. This thesis will answer the question: How is health articulated from 1989 to 2009 and how is Glostrup municipality trying to guide their citizens towards a healthier life? In answering this question the thesis demonstrate, how health has become a political problem and how this has generated certain political solutions. The analysis is inspired by Michel Foucault with an emphasis on Genealogy, Dispositive and Governmentality. This thesis argues that the health rationale, team up with different partners to get as close to the citizen as possible. In doing so, the health rationale continuously reinvent the meaning of ’health’ in order to reach a wider audience. This means that there is no clear framework for what health is. The thesis shows that the relationship between the state and citizen becomes a paradox. The state tries to manage the citizens, and at the same time, it encourages the citizens to take control of their own health. Using Foucault's Governmentality analysis, the thesis demonstrates how Glostrup municipality seeks to control citizens of Glostrup via the Danish nutrition label “Nøglehulsmærket”. The aim is to encourage the citizens to make healthier choices when it comes to food. On the one hand, Nøglehulsmærket has been a successful strategy as it has influenced the choices of citizens in Glostrup. On the other hand, such a label removes responsibility from the citizen. It is observed that in this process, the boundary between the private citizen and the municipality is dissolved as health spreads and is present everywhere. Thus there is no clear health framework, it is difficult to decide if, when, and in which contexts health should be regarded as a private or public responsibility. The thesis concludes that public health has become a political problem and that the nutrition label “Nøglehulsmærket” is a political solution to the Danish health problem.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages93