Hegemoni og konstruktionen af Rigsfællesskab: En diskursteoretisk analyse af transformationen af relationen mellem Danmark og Grønland

Camilla Marie Thiele

Student thesis: Master thesis


By using a poststructuralist approach building on Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory this thesis explores how hegemony is currently formed in the Danish, political articulation of Denmark’s relation to Greenland within the Danish Commonwealth. In doing so, it is demonstrated how this works to constitute a specific forward-looking frame of action. Empirically, the focus point is the emerging transformation of the bilateral relation between Denmark and Greenland amongst others debated as a consequence of the strengthened call for financial and political independence as well as the growth perspectives of the extractive industries in Greenland. As such this thesis seeks to answer, how the present Danish government and its opposition, by using strategies that within a discourse analytical framework can be characterized as respectively working through equivalent and differentiating logics seek to hegemonize the discoursive field relating to the intergovernmental relations in the Commonwealth. The empirical frame is formed by the Danish parliamentary policy work relating to the two thematical referencepoints Greenland and the Commonwealth. Hereby, debates from the parliament as well as semi structured interviews with selected politicians representing both the government coalition as well as the opposition are included. The analytical section of this thesis is divided into three levels. The first level is the retrospective analysis that has as its main focus to render visible how significant discoursive points, which can be drawn from the Commonwealth’s newer political history, can be seen as feeding into the present political articulations. The second level is the hegemony analysis that in turn seeks to show how the two present political discourses, the governmental and oppositional discourses respectively, put the equivalence- and differentiating logics into practice, and thus how power is played out through the ascribtion of meaning constructing the Commonwealth in a certain way. It is metaforically argued that the two discourses despite their differences both construct the tie between Denmark and Greenland as a paternal relation, given that Greenland emerges as a teenager that needs either confidence/trust or boundary setting, depending on the point of observation. The third analytical level is based on the analytical outcomes of the two prior levels, the purpose being to deduce four scenarios, three of them being action oriented, towards Denmark’s facilitation of the continuation of the Commonwealth going forward. Consequently, building on a poststructural framework the overall purpose of the thesis is to make visible, how the particular constructions of the Commonwealth are not the only possible depictions of the relation between Denmark og Greenland, but rather stricken by contingency and thus manifest a productive potential for political change.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages110