Den særlige rådgiver: Et studie af den særlige rådgivers etablering i det politiske system og etableringens konstitutive konsekvenser for politiske ledelse

Desirée Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The interaction between politicians and civil servants has several times been headlines in the newspapers, and several scandals have shown the challenges lurking, both officials and politicians in this interaction. There are many interpretations of why these scandals have cast a pall over the central administration, and some believe that it is mainly due to a shift in the traditional officer role and the fading difference between the political and the administrative work. This trend was further aggravated by the creation of a position called the Special Adviser. Compared to the general civil service the most special thing about this type of advisers is that they do not succumb to partisan political considerations and they follow the Minister when he or she stops governing. With this development, the distinction between politics and administration have paradoxically been exceeded and to a degree that eventually makes it relevant to examine the consequences for political leadership. On the basis of the above I have raised the following research question: How has the political system's historical self-description made the special adviser possible and what are the constitutive effects, of the establishment of the Special Adviser observed to have on the political leadership today? In order to answer my research question I use Michel Foucault’s genealogical approach and Ernesto Laclau’s logic of representation. Based on my analysis, I conclude that the manner in which the political system linguistically makes the constellation with Special Advisers possible is through its description of his or hers activities and by pulling blurred limits for their behavior. The political system appears to act as reactive and have a pragmatic attitude to the adviser’s existence, cause of its retrospective reactions in relation to something that is already being practiced in the system. The political system seems also to focus on communication control, which means that political leadership will be a question of political representation. Linguistic focus on setting the agenda can be observed to cause an obvious attachment and de-politicization of politics.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages74