• Mette Pedersen
In this thesis, the communication of the Danish People’s Party (DPP), the Party for Freedom (PVV) and the Sweden Democrats is analysed. The particular focus is on the three parties’ paradoxical presentation of national identity including values such as liberal-mindedness and tolerance while simultaneously arguing for intolerance towards Islam and Muslims. In other words, the focus of this thesis is answering the question ‘Why, according to the DPP, PVV and SD, is it necessary to be intolerant towards Islam and Muslims in order to remain tolerant and liberal?’. Before analysing the communication of the three parties, the political and cultural contexts in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are examined. This background analysis shows how the immigration and multiculturalism debates have developed in the latter part of the 1900s up until today. It is seen that Denmark and the Netherlands today have very restrictive immigration policies and allow for a tone in the debate that many consider too harsh. In Sweden, it is not quite as harsh, although the debate seems to have become a little more critical than it used to be. The background analysis furthermore shows that particularly Danes have a clear vision of what Danish national identity is, whereas the Dutchmen are more polarised, partly showing an identity crisis. Concerning religion, the Danes and the Swedes value secularism, but still regard Christianity as important. In the Netherlands, the relationship with religion is more polarised in that a large percentage of the Dutch are non-ecclesiastic, but at the same time, three Christian parties have seats in parliament. All three nationalities seem to view themselves as tolerant and liberal, just as all three nationalities’ attitudes towards Muslims and Islam are fairly polarised. The analyses of the DPP, PVV and SD’s communication show very similar portrayals of national identity. All three parties emphasise liberal-mindedness, tolerance and free speech as important values of their respective national identities. Furthermore, they highlight the importance of secularism, but simultaneously argue for the importance of Christianity for their respective societies, although to differing degrees. Particularly the DPP emphasises the influence of Christianity on Danish society, whereas the PVV focuses on religion the least. All three parties are positive towards tradition and the way things used to be in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, but simultaneously criticise Islam for being a backwards religion. Islam, the parties argue, is an intolerant, suppressive and even violent ideology that strives for political influence. Hence, according to the three parties, allowing Islam to influence society essentially means allowing for society to become Islamic. Thereby, intolerance towards Islam is necessary in order for Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden to remain liberal and tolerant.
Publication date29 Jul 2011
Number of pages91
Publishing institutionAAU
ID: 54780081