Den danske rygelov i et governmentality-perspektiv: Smoking and Governmentality

Josephine Grønlund Sandal, Jeppe Underbjerg, Thomas Refskov & Zoheir Basheir

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This paper will explore how three separate laws against smoking have influenced the Danish people’s position as it relates to how they look at smoking. We will examine this issue by making three different governmentality studies, which analyses control and management. Governmentality is a theoretical direction developed by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. Foucault’s objective in studying governmentality was to explore how laws and political intentions came about, and show how laws didn’t always show the politicians true intentions behind them. Not only does a governmentality-study wish to show the implicitly reasons behind a law, but also the explicit motives, that can determine the real desire for the legislation. This paper will use a Foucault inspired theoretician, Mitchell Dean, to make a governmentality analysis of laws against smoking, from 1995, 2007 and 2012 in Denmark. By deciding to work from a Foucault inspired world view, we have also made it clear that our scientific viewpoint is of the discursive theoretical outlook. That means that we do not believe that individuals determine how they view smoking, but what determines it is the discourse that exist in the society about smoking. By working discursively, are we also of conviction that the best way to examine the discourses about smoking, is to analyze the laws against smoking over an almost twenty years period. This will give us a good indication of if the discourse as it relates to how smoking has changed. To make the analysis we have decided to use five different, but at the same time similar dimension of how to analyze control and management. We will; 1. Examine which truth about smoking existed at the time of each of the legislations 2. How strategies were used in the making of the laws, to influence the citizens 3. How the ministry wrote the laws in specific way to affect the citizens 4. How the laws was written so that the people would identify themselves with a certain type of citizen 5. How control and management have a utopian perspective that means management is used to improve the society, with a thinking the control and management is a way to amend the society. The conclusion of this study shows that through control and management that the Ministry of Health has succeeded in shaping the people’s opinion of smoking. It especially shows in the difference between the laws from 1995 and 2007. You can see in the 1995 law that both smokers and non-smokers have been taking into consideration in the making of the law, by both respecting that smokers has to have rooms and areas where they can smoke, but also saying that the smoking can’t take place, if it means that non-smokers is being exposed to smoke unwillingly. The 2007 law meanwhile makes it clear that the intention behind the law was to limit areas there you can smoke, while also minimizing that non-smokers are exposed to unwillingly smoke. That shows how the Ministry of Health has succeeded in changing the general public’s opinion of smoking. The 2012 legislation reinforces this notion by expanding areas where by cannot smoke. The law says that you can no longer smoke around institutions with children. Neither inside or outside its premise. Thereby it insures that future generations don’t grow in an environment with smoking.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato23 jan. 2014
VejlederePeter Nielsen


  • Governmentality
  • Rygning
  • Rygeloven
  • Dean