Udlændingedebat i indvandrerperspektiv: En kritisk diskursanalyse af indvandrernes perception af udlændingedebatten

Christian Krogh Severinsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis starts with the claim that Denmark needs and in the future still will need qualified immigration. On that background I consider it to be interesting to investigate how the debate about immigrants in Denmark, is being perceived by the immigrants themselves. I therefore seek to answer the following research questions: How is the Danish immigration debate perceived by the immigrants? - What consequences might this have? - What is the recommendation to politicians and the media when looking at the results of my investigation? To investigate this, I decided to use the single case study. So I got to work with a class of immigrants from Copenhagen Language Center which I use as my “case-class”. I made personal interviews with the people in the class and they wrote an assignment about the topic. Furthermore I involve an article from Information (a Danish newspaper), written by an immigrant in Denmark about the Danish immigration debate, to get an impression of what other people than the case-class have to say on this matter. I choose to base my investigation on critical discourse analysis and I use the three dimensional model of Norman Fairclough as my primary theory and method. The focus of critical discourse analysis is how language use plays a big role in the maintenance of power relations in our society and therefore it seems like the right way of investigating my research question. During the analysis of my empirical material I identify several discourses that the immigrants use to describe their perception of the immigration debate in Denmark. The high degree of interdiscursivity in my empirical material is what Fairclough interprets as a sign of change. Hence, I open up to the possibility that change is coming to the immigration debate in Denmark, if the immigrants gets included on a bigger scale, than the case is presently. Within the high interdiscursivity I find two consistent discourses that exist in all of my data. These are the “generalization discourse” and the “inclusion discourse”. The generalization discourse is among other materialized through the vocabulary used by the immigrants. Thus I observe that the word “immigrant” is continuously linked to negative semantic areas, which I choose to gather under the term “generalization”. So the answer to my main research question is that the immigration debate is perceived very negatively by the immigrants. The “inclusion discourse” is in the same manner confirmed through vocabulary, cohesion and so on. But it works as an opposition to the “generalization discourse” and represent what the immigrants would like to have happen in the debate about them. So the word “inclusion” is exclusively connected with positive semantic areas. I find that the generalization discourse has been naturalized and have reached the point where it is considered to be “common sense” in Denmark - an ideology. In this connection I interpret the inclusion discourse as the counterattack from the immigrants in the ongoing hegemonic fight for discursive power. I end up by looking at the consequences of my results and I point out the possible link between the negatively perceived immigration debate and the fact that qualified immigrants tend to leave the country. This leads me to recommend that we expand the Danish vocabulary so it will be possible to involve immigrants in society to a larger extend than the language permits currently. Also I recommend a sort of language training which focuses on critical attention to ideological processes in discourse, so people can be more aware of their own practice and thus be more critical towards the ideological invested discourses that they are subjected to.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages135