From Princess Syndrome to Interpellation Debate: A Discourse Theoretical Analysis of Women's Path to the Boards

Trine Riis

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Drawing on a poststructuralist approach this master thesis has focused on, how the organization Kvinder i Bestyrelser (Women on Boards) and the political parties, Frie Grønne, Radikale Venstre, and Det Konservative Folkeparti, are creating a discourse about the lack of female board members in Denmark, how the communication in the discourse has developed throughout the years, and last but not least which constitutive consequences the communication has had for the political scope of action.
On the theoretic base of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theoretical analysis, the thesis will illustrate how Kvinder i Bestyrelser, Frie Grønne, Radikale Venstre, and Det Konservative Folkeparti’s attributions are made through a series of dislocations, which have enabled them to re-articulate their communication about the lack of female board members in new ways. This has been made possible because they have continuously been fixing their communication via empty signifiers and a constitutive outside of the discourse.
To demonstrate the development of the communication, the analysis will be divided into two parts: 1) one which focuses on the development of Kvinder i Bestyrelser’s communication from their launch in 2015 up till now, and 2) an analysis of the current political communication about the lack of female board members. The first part explores how Kvinder i Bestyrelser keeps changing their communication about who should be responsible for getting more women into the board rooms. Should it be the women, the companies, the politicians, or a fourth party? Subsequently, the following second analysis will demonstrate how the political parties differ greatly when it comes to agreeing on, whether there is a problem with the lack of female board members, and whether the politicians are the ones to fix the problem. Even though they mostly disagree, there are also common focus areas, where they can agree e.g., the law draft on publishing all managing- and board job positions publicly.
The implications of the analysis’s findings are discussed concerning, which constitutive consequences the communication has had for the political scope of action. Here the thesis found that the continuous supply of new elements in the communication can confuse the recipients of communication or even make them withdraw their support on the political project.
The overall conclusion of the thesis is that the communication in the debate about the lack of female board members has evolved a lot and in several different directions and that this has constitutive consequences for the political scope of action. The recipients of the communication may be confused about what Kvinder i Bestyrelser and the political parties regard as meaningful, and thereby remove the support for the political project, which in turn leads to a narrowed political scope of action.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2021
Number of pages66
SupervisorsSara Louise Muhr