• Louise Drustrup Jensen
  • Marta Susanne Tang Hvistendal
  • Anja Richter
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
We aim in this Master thesis to perform a comparative analysis of the Disability Pension rules effective in year 1965 against the Disability Pension reform as implemented in year 2013, the goal is to uncover how prevailing the Employment policy discourses have changed the recognition conditions set for people with a medical condition on the edge of the labour market. The thesis presents a normative critical look at the social changes, which through the led policy has influenced both accolades as violations of the target audience.

We are interested in how changes in the award of a Disability Pension in 1965 compared to the reformed Disability Pension in 2013 are modified from ensuring people with a medical condition economical security through a compensation program into dealing with the ongoing search for the last pieces of work ability of the individual, and how these changes have affected the conditions for recognition for a Disability Pension. The analysis begins with a deconstruction of the Disability Pension law and the Disability Pension reform, in order to track down the dominant discourses that appear in the two periods. Here we are conducting a discourse analysis which is based on Michel Foucault's Genealogical theory by converting this into an analytical tool using the Carol Bacchi’s six-step method. This method together with the selected empirical data benchmarks: needs vs. utilitarian welfare, compensation vs. development of working capacity, passive vs. active employment policy will be steering marks through the comparative analysis of the two pension periods.

The theoretical basis in the last part of the analysis is based on Axel Honneth’s Recognition theory. This theory makes it possible to put an explicit critical normative view on the found employment discourses. The combination of Foucault and Honneth offers the potential for an integrated critical reflective approach to empiricism, which aims to make judgments on how recognition requirements have changed for people with a medical condition on the edge of the labour market.

The empirical data consists of selected phrases from the report and the draft law on Disability Pension from 1965, as well as legislative proposals and other relevant legislative procedures from the Disability Pension reform implemented in 2013.

The thesis concludes that the Disability Pension law and the Disability Pension reform, both display an antagonistic understanding of social problems, and both represent a change in the understanding of the problems and in means on how to fight the social problem, which people with a medical condition on the edge of the labour market then as now represent. The Disability Pension law in 1965 was characterized by an economical compensation mind-set and the passive award of a disability pension; where the state's role was to economical compensate people with a medical condition by awarding an invalidity pension, so their “good life” could continue to realized.

While the state's role, according to the Disability Pension reform of 2013, is directed towards the preservation of a connection to the labour market for a person with a medical condition by developing their employability rather than a grant of early retirement. The “good life” here is only available through the labour market, and implemented social measures are directed towards maintain this link. Political statements from 2013 illustrates that any sense of community only exist through being available on the labour market. In both periods economics plays a central role, but with quite different outcomes and these have influenced peoples possible Disability Pension recognition conditions in a way that are more readily favourable in 1965 than in 2013.
We find it interesting that an absence of the intangible perspective can be traced in both periods, since the recognition for a Disability Pension in 1965 is primarily generated from a compensation perspective and in 2013 from the ideology of being useful in the labour market. How immaterial needs for persons with a medical condition will be addressed in a future employment discourse will therefore depend on the ruling political ideology and the available economics at that time.
Publication date2016
Number of pages96
ID: 237843613