Pastoral manifestations of legitimacy in a welfare state in crisis

Pelle Korsbæk Sørensen*, Nicole Thualagant

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review


This chapter explores the Danish immediate policy response to COVID-19 with a specific interest in the way the response was legitimized in public. With a theoretical focus on biopolitics, we examine how the immediate policy response can be understood in regard to the state, social security, and ‘care for the self’.

Through a layered analysis of central press conferences held by the Prime Minister's Office around the time of the first lockdown and with a focus on how measures were legitimated we identify four complexes of legitimacy. More precisely, we identify a dominating complex of legitimacy: The moral complex. This further leads to an analysis of the specific subtle form of governance through the notion of pastoral power. The chapter thus suggests an analysis of the Danish COVID-19 strategy as a response based on pastoral power relations. Through the appeal to ‘samfundssind’ (social-mindedness), individual and collective responsibilities are presented as the key to a sustainable management of the crisis. This finding not only contributes to existing theories on the biopolitics of the 21st century, it also demonstrates a modern version of pastoral power as a technology of governance in a time of crisis
TitelSustainable health and the COVID-19 crisis : Interdisciplinary perspectives
RedaktørerNicole Thualagant, Pelle Korsbæk Sørensen, Troels Sune Mønsted
Antal sider18
ISBN (Trykt)9781032257785
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781003441915
StatusUdgivet - 2024

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