• Anton Castro Bøjgaard
  • Nynne Selene Juel Munk
4. semester, Kommunikation, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This thesis investigates how the Danish government and the Danish Health Authority communicate about Covid-19 in Denmark in the period from February 2020 until July 2020. With a point of departure in discourse theory as articulated by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as well as Norman Fairclough, the thesis uncovers a hegemonic discourse articulated by the two authorities as a discourse we choose to call ‘control’.

Through a case study of 12 press meetings held by the Danish government and 56 news released by the Danish Health Authority, the thesis utilizes a range of tools from the discourse theoretical standpoint. By including Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s contribution to discourse analysis, the thesis identifies a range of moments and nodal points that form chains of equivalence. These nodal points include concepts such as ‘community’ and ‘the proper behaviour’, which are all in support of the hegemonic control discourse.
The thesis identifies these nodal points through Norman Fairclough’s three-dimensional model. The text and discoursive dimensions support the understanding of Laclau and Mouffe’s vocabulary and continues to unfold both the communicative events and the underlying discourses that are articulated from the two authorities. Simultaneously, the thesis deals with Fairclough’s three functions, identity, lexical and ideational to understand how the hegemonic discourse presents itself in different ways.

To successfully uncover Fairclough’s third dimension, the social context, the thesis draws upon German sociologist Ulrich Beck. His theory of the risk society aids the analysis of the risk assessments as articulated by the two authorities. Furthermore, Beck’s theory provides us with an understanding of how reflexive modernity can challenge the hegemonic discourse. This means that it is necessary for the Danish government and Danish Health Authorities to create a depoliticizing control discourse in order to minimize potential antagonisms and floating signifiers.

The thesis is written from a post structural point of view. While this to some extent provides a few disagreements between the chosen theorists, it is also discussed how they complement each other, allowing for a deeper understanding of the communicative events that are being investigated. It is concluded that this scientific standpoint allows us to properly answer the chosen research question.

A finding worth mentioning is that while there are no major antagonisms found in the data, one is identified internally in the communication from the Danish Health Authority. This is uncovered through a division of the chosen timeframe where it becomes apparent that their rhetoric changes from a scientific, neutral style to resemble that of the Danish government. This is found to underline the hegemony of the control discourse.

Lastly, it is discussed how the lack of antagonisms in the chosen data would have been different, had the analysis been conducted with data from the second wave of Covid-19 in Denmark. If this type of research is of interest, the process and mode of sampling is thoroughly described in the methodology section of the thesis.
Udgivelsesdato4 jan. 2021
Antal sider86
ID: 397941704