Hvad er ligestilling, og hvem sørger for, at stillingen står lige? En analyse af ligestillingsdebattens udvikling

Camilla-Dorthea Bundgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


In Denmark today, gender equality is still a vastly debated topic despite the fact that the fight for women’s rights goes back a hundred years. In search of potential reasons, this master thesis explores the development in the conceptualisations of ‘gender equality’ including who or what is assigned agency in the debate, and discusses potential consequences of the overall development. From a historical outline of the fight for gender equality in Denmark, it takes a closer look at the public debate in newspapers in 1968 and 2008. Social constructionism, philosophical hermeneutics, and critical theory form the basis of the Critical Discourse Analysis approach, and from this a framework for Faircloughian analysis is developed. The analysis consists of three parts: an analysis of discursive practice, textual practice, and social practice. Based on Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of nodal points and Lakoff and Johnson’s conceptual metaphors, the thesis explores the net of discourses that arise from the texts, and vie to conceptualise ‘gender equality’. After summing up the results of the discursive practice, the thesis scrutinises how the discourses are constructed textually with an emphasis on how agency is distributed within and across the utterances of the different texts based on analysis of semantic roles and passive diathesis. With the analysis of discursive and textual practice, the discourse analysis is concluded. Subsequently, the social practice is analysed, and in this, the results of the analysis are briefly discussed in light of Giddens’ theory of post modernity. The results indicate that the conceptualisation of “gender equality” has developed recently, and that it is today a common sense concept with a fixed meaning: equal representation of men and women in the workplace and the home. The debate has become detached from great narratives, and is instead based on quantitative measures and opinion. Politicians have become active participants in the debate in the roles of debaters and policy makers, and the state is expected to play a large part in the creation of equality between men and women. Finally, the thesis suggests that this development can be seen as part of the extensive social practice in the postmodern society, where social relations are “diembedded” to the modern welfare state, and the individual is dependant upon expert systems, in that the politicians act as representatives of expert knowledge, and consistently suggest policy making as the solution to gender inequality.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages174