Legitimacy in the Danish Democracy

Christian Mapani Rose Scharling, Mathias Andersson, Esben Sandholdt Adamsen & Roar Sejr Bramming Hyldkrog

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The project has investigated the level of representation, and transparency in the Danish political system, and the influence these two concepts have had on the legitimacy of the Danish democracy. This has been investigated on two parallel levels; the change of government in 2011 and the implementation of the Danish Public Information Act 2013. These consequences of these two events are then put into context of voting patterns and social strata, to analyse the changes in the political system from a more sociological angle. The project starts by analysing how the new Danish Public Information Act (2013) has influenced the transparency of the political system. The changes that occurred with the implementation of the act created a huge uproar from the Danish population, and was heavily criticised by experts. The project attempts to implement the change in transparency to an analysis of the legitimacy of the Danish political system. The project concludes on the basis of experts on media as well as the political system, that the Danish Public Information Act (2013) have had a negative influence on the legitimacy of the Danish political system. The project then investigates the level of representation in Denmark by discussing the big choices made in the two governmental periods (2001-2011 and 2011-2014). Furthermore, an analysis of the laws implemented with and without the opposition’s consent in both periods has been done to discuss the public critique of the left wing government (2011-14), that they only implement laws big broad conciliations. It is shown that this is not an abnormality but the regular way of policy-making, which is seen in the results that the right wing government (2001-11) has implemented 71% of their laws as broad conciliations and 29% without the opposition’s consent and the the left wing government implemented 79% of their laws as broad conciliations and only 21% of the laws without the opposition. This shows that only the left wing government implement 8% more of their laws as broad conciliations than the right wing government. In the last chapter an analysis focused on the representation based on demographics is completed. This analysis shows that there is a proportional connection between the level of income and education and the level of participation. Furthermore, the sociological consequences of this was discussed with by including sociologists view on this. Especially Bourdieu’s three capitals, social, economic and cultural, has been implemented on the ability to influence the political system. The project shows that there has come new barriers to entry in the Danish political system, and furthermore, that the ability to penetrate these has become more dependent on one’s level of different capitals. The project argues that the level of social capital is directly influenced by one’s cultural and economic capital. Furthermore, that the level of cultural and economic capital has a direct influence on one’s will to participate in the democracy is argued and visualised after the analysis of information from the Danish parliament and other scholars pre-analysed empirical data. The project concludes that the Danish democratic political system, relative to other nations, is very transparent, legitimate and has a high level of representation in many aspects of the system, however, the increasing barriers to entry and the continuously increase of elitism creates a change of power from being equally divided between the population to be, to a higher degree, a question on one’s level of education and income that determines how much influence a citizen has on the Danish system. A part of the political system has, thus, suffered a cutback in legitimacy.

UddannelserBasis - International Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato19 jun. 2014
VejledereHelene Dyrhauge


  • Role of the Politician
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Elitification
  • Democracy
  • Representation
  • Politics
  • Legitimacy