Neoliberalisme på den danske venstrefløj

Sigurd Schou Madsen & Mikkel Veje Rønsbo

Student thesis: Master thesis


Since the center-left government, consisting of the Social Democrats, the Socialist People’s Party and The Danish Social Liberal Party, took over power in September 2011 they have been accused of applying even more right-wing politics than the former right-wing government. The criticism has increased steadily while the government over the past 18 months has concluded several extensive reforms in collaboration with the right-wing parties of the Parliament. But is this criticism merely expressions of discontented left-wing voters, or is there some truth to the accusations that the politics of the government really has moved towards the right side of the political spectrum? The main problem of this master thesis is to examine the existence of neoliberalism in Danish politics, and the possible occurrence of neoliberal elements within the left-wing parties. To address this, the thesis first examines the political communication of the Danish right-wing party Liberal Alliance in order to detect the occurrence of neoliberal elements. The discourse theory of Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe provide the analytical framework and through it, the thesis illuminates the existence of neoliberal elements in the party’s view, through the articulation of the essential nodal points; the free marked, the free individual and the limited state. Secondly the thesis examines whether or not neoliberal elements can be found in the communication of the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party. The analytical framework for this examination is a combination of George Lakoff’s political concept of framing and his conceptual metaphor theory. Through this analysis the thesis reveals several neoliberal elements contained in the parties’ articulation of the following essential political frames; financial accountability, making work pay off and tax relief. The concluding remarks of the thesis state that neoliberalism can be observed in Danish politics, and not only within the communication of the right wing party Liberal Alliance but additionally, and more controversially, in the communication of their political opponents - the center-left government.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages111