De, der kan, skal: En kritisk diskursanalyse af det offentliges konstruktion af borgerne i den fællesoffentlige digitaliseringskampagne

Lærke Brigsted

Student thesis: Master thesis


The citizens of Denmark will in less than two weeks have to receive their communication from the public authorities digitally. This is merely one of the landmarks in the digitizing of the public service of citizens which takes place from 2011 to 2015. This digitization has achieved a lot of media attention, especially in relation to specific groups expected to experience challenges. How will the public authorities handle this alleged challenge? Hence, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate how the public authorities construct the citizens in the campaign material composed by Digitaliseringsstyrelsen (the agency of digitization) as well as investigating any potential marginalizing effects of these discourses in relation to individual groups of citizens. The thesis seeks to do this through a critical discourse analysis of the campaign material. The results of the analysis indicate that the citizens are constructed through four different discourses which describe the citizens from four different perspectives: The discourse of digitally competent citizens, the discourse of the need of exemption, the consumer discourse, and the citizen discourse. In the light of these results, differences and similarities between the four discourses are discussed. An asymmetric power relation between the citizens and the public authorities is found in all four discourses where the authorities possess great power and the citizens less. The digital facilities are primarily described in positive terms and good digital qualifications are the aim pursued in all four discourses. The digital expressions therefore achieve a hegemonic status in the campaign material. In the discourse of the need for exemption, the classic stereotype that older people lack digital competencies is exercised. Consequently this stereotype also achieves a hegemonic status in the discourse of the need for exemption. Furthermore, it is discussed how social structures, power relations, and hegemonies identified in and around the four discourses may affect a possible marginalization of the citizens. Finally, it is concluded that the hegemonic status of the digital competencies and digital facilities may obstruct the public authorities’ inclusion of all types of citizens in the community. In addition, the campaign material tends to marginalize the group of senior citizens because of their age. Yet, the thesis illustrates that this tendency is solely present in the discourse of the need for the exemption. KEY WORDS: Digitization of the public sector, citizens, critical discourse analysis, diversity, ageing.

EducationsMSc in Organisational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages154