Consensus within Norwegian Foreign Policy and International Military Operations: Special Forces to Syria and Norwegian Media Coverage

Nora Callander

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis addresses the role of the media in Norwegian foreign policy. More specifically, it examines how Norwegian foreign policy decisions are communicated and presented to the public by the Norwegian news media.
Achieving consensus in foreign policy is a core facet in the policy-making process. Uniting conflicting political viewpoints improves the country's global stability, while also minimizing national political dissidence. Consequently, this affects the role of the media as a critical actor.
By applying Pierre Bourdieu’s analytical framework, this thesis will utilize the concepts of practice, field, habitus and economic capital to explore how the media acts as a mechanism to either reproduce or to challenge the established foreign policy decision-making process. When examining the foreign policy decision-making process, the structural conditions which limits the media's ability to perform as a critical actor will be identified. Furthermore, this thesis will investigate whether or not the media supports or challenges Norwegian foreign policy by analyzing a selection of news media editorials which all discuss Norway's recent military contribution to the American- led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria.
Although smaller newspapers criticize and challenge Norwegian foreign policy, this thesis concludes that Norwegian newspapers maintaining the largest market share support, rather than challenge, the position of the Norwegian government's existing foreign policy. Consequently, national media takes an active role in legitimizing Norwegian foreign policy in the general population, ultimately strengthening Norway's foreign policy consensus.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages74
SupervisorsAnna Leander