Communication as a Weapon Against Tobacco: A Genealogical and Discursive Analysis of Norwegian Prevention Policy Against Tobacco Consumption

Nikolai Nordan Riibe

Student thesis: Master thesis


Smoking, and tobacco consumption are considered to be some of the biggest health challenges worldwide. In Norway it is estimated that roughly 16 per cent of annual deaths are caused by tobacco consumption (SIRUS 2016: 3.2.5). Tobacco is on of the biggest enemies to the authorities, however the population do not seem to react accordingly to bans anymore. This is why I am asking, how can communication be used strategically as a weapon against tobacco consumption? This dissertation evaluates and analyse the measures done to avoid tobacco consumption in Norwegian history. Furthermore, the latest measure proposal to implement so-called “plain packaging” is thoroughly analysed. The analyses are inspired by the French philosopher Michele Foucault. His work laid the basis for this genealogical and discursive dissertation. Through the history of Norwegian resistance politics it can be found a development from a focus on moral to a focus on individual health. It can be observed a shift from conduction of sovereign power in forms of direct bans to strategic use of indirect forms of power. The analyses points out that Norwegian resistance politics in relation to tobacco is not so random as they might appear. The measures are connected, and developed so they do not interfere with liberal core values. However, the measures might also bring negative side effects the authorities might not have considered. Moreover, I am arguing that the Norwegian health authorities are exposed to a large amount of pressure as a result of its history. Key words: Tobacco, Communication, Health, Foucault, Discourse, Genealogy, Bio Politics, Power, Governmentality

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages80
SupervisorsKaspar Villadsen