De perfekte studerende, der aldrig fandtes: En historisk diskursanalyse af mulighedsbetingelser og magtforhold i den danske uddannelsesdiskurs

Julie Navntoft

Student thesis: Master thesis


The conditions of possibilities and power relations in the Danish educational discourse have gradually made students’ identities disappear throughout the past 25 years. The thesis “The perfect students, who never existed – a historical discourse analysis of the conditions of possibilities and power relations in the Danish educational discourse” investigates the development in the Danish educational discourse from January 1990 to June 2015. The theoretical background of the thesis is Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge and his historical dispositive analysis. In the first part of the thesis I develop an analysis strategy drawing upon Foucault’s strategies for discourse analysis. Using David M. Boje’s methodology of intertextual network analysis I collect and select relevant articles, which holds the statements of the educational discourse and gather them into an archive.The thesis analyses the dispersion of statements that defines the discourse. The analysis is divided into sections dedicated to the four enunciative modalites, which are present in the educational discourse. These are the universities, the business sector, the politicians and the students. Each section analyses the modalities’ linguification of statements. The discourse analysis concludes that the Danish educational discourse of today is distinctively business oriented. It is focused on making educations more business-minded and preparing students for the job market. The thesis’ dispositive analysis focuses on how the power relations between the enunciative modalities have played out throughout the past 25 years. It investigates how the business sector, politicians and the universities discipline the students into acting according to acting according to each of their best interests. It concludes that the business sector has come to be the modality holding the most power, closely followed by the politicians. By comparing the results of the discourse analysis with the results of the dispositive analysis, the thesis discusses how the discursive power and disciplining have created conflicting conditions of possibilities for the students. It further discusses how this has resulted in a subjectification of the students, which problematizes their identity. The thesis concludes that the three additional modalities have put up boxes for students to fit into, but that the boxes do not match. This makes it impossible for students to act according to the conditions of possibilities, which in terms make them question the point of educating entirely.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages74