The (De)Stabilization of a Denmark That was Meant to Stand Together

David Granhøj Christoffersen & Kasper Emil Tofthøj Jakobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates how the Danish Government consisting of the political parties Socialdemokratiet, Radikale Venstre og Socialistisk Folkeparti from 2011 to 2014 stabilized themselves as an organizational system and how it ultimately got destabilized. It does so by utilizing Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory to comprehend the system’s autopoietic communication. The analysis commences with an analysis on the different system˥environment-differences we have observed the Government used when constructing a common identity that stabilized them as a system. These are “system˥environment”, “Government party˥Government” and “Government˥former Government(s)”. By observing the system’s autopoietic communication with a second order perspective we are able to analyze how the system constructed and stabilized itself through a variety of programs. We furthermore construct three typologies and categorize the Government's programs within these. The typologies are Irritation programs, Identity programs and Political programs. Within Irritation programs we analyze “Consultations” and “Question Hours” that allowed the Government to control irritations from its opposition in order for it to communicate autopoietic and thus stabilize itself. Within Identity programs we analyze “Speeches” and “Press Releases” that allowed the Government to unfold the border demarcation of itself as a system and its environment. Within Political programs we analyze “Political Agreements” and “Ministerial Appointments“ that allowed the Government to perform the political function system’s function which is to adopt collectively binding decisions. We conclude the analysis by examining how an internal conflict in Socialistisk Folkeparti based on a series of specific cases created dissent within the system. This conflict ultimately led to the party leader’s resignation and the party leaving the government.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages135