Unemployed! An Analysis on Venstre’s Unemployment Discourse in Denmark

Camilla Henriette Nøjgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

With the interest in gaining insight into how identity and social space is created through political communication, this thesis has the purpose of investigating how the Danish political party Venstre’s unemployment discourse constructs the identity of the unemployed citizens of Denmark. With the recent resurge in the focus on unemployment within the political sphere, both sides of the Danish political spectrum have taken to the unemployment discourse, with Venstre presenting unemployment as a pronounced key political issue and a main theme in their campaigning efforts for the 2015 election. Two communicative events which pertain to Venstre’s “working must pay off” campaign, are hence analyzed - Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s speech at the 2013 party conference as well as Venstre’s official campaign poster used in the 2015 election. Based on a social constructionist approach, the theoretical frame and methodological tools used are based on Norman Fairclough’s as well as Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s work on discourse theory. Fairclough’s three-dimensional model of Critical Discourse Analysis provides the framework for analyzing the chosen communicative events and their context whilst Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse Theory provides concepts such as antagonism and identity which are used in the analysis as well as in the discussion. Lastly the concept of delegitimization by Chiara Volpato is used to process the reached results of the analysis and bring greater understanding to the constructed identity of the unemployed and their relation to society, The analysis ultimately indicates the presence of three discourses; the “us versus them”, “unemployment as detrimental and unfair to society”, and “unemployment by choice” discourses which together construct the identity of the unemployed as both detrimental and unfair, whilst simultaneously constructing the relation of the unemployed to society as antagonistic, as the unemployed are marginalized and portrayed as the inferior entity.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages79