Fagbevægelsens legitimitetsudfordringer: En analyse af FOA og LO´s kommunikation i det polycentrerede samfund

Martin Højkjær Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this master thesis is to investigate communication of the trade unions in order to explain why their legitimacy often is questioned in these years. The report is focusing on how self-descriptions of the trade unions influence legitimacy in society. The report is based on Niklas Luhmanns theory on social systems. Luhmann describes our society as functionally differentiated meaning that there is no longer one centre that represent the society as a whole – the society has become poly-centred. The society is characterized by discrepancies between different logics among which a fundamental consensus is no longer possible. It is in this perspective I intend to describe the challenge of lack of legitimacy for the trade unions. The report is analyzing the communications of two trade unions: 1) The first analyse focuses on the communication of the Danish trade union FOA - concerning their understanding of “Ny Løn”. This analyse gives a concrete example on how the traditional identity of trade unions is challenged, and how problems appear regarding the legitimacy in the polycentered society. 2) The second analyse is focusing on the communication of the umbrella organization LO and the statements of this organisation on renewal (New LO). The aim is to analyse different identities and to discuss the perspectives related to these different identities, regarding the trade unions legitimacy in the polycentered society. It is concluded that communication from FOA regarding “Ny Løn” is an expression of legal semantics creating obvious tensions compared to other semantics concerning “Ny Løn”. This legal semantics create a very autonomous identity in FOA, as well as a certain understanding of the surroundings, which gives the trade union more problems with the polycentered society. The communications from LO on renewal gives at least 6 different understandings of the trade union and the surroundings. It can be seen that LO has different roles and these are often contradictive. Further, it is estimated that the trade union has to recognize these different roles and finally, it is discussed how the different statements can be combined in a better way in order to create a clear profile.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages116