Solidaritet i en ny kontrakt: Solidarity in a new contract

Katerina Kearley Larsen, Rasmus Holm, Jonas Dahl Lauritzen & Mathilde Vestergaard Streton

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project will analyze the development of solidarity in the Danish welfare state. The analysis will be outlined by Faircloughs critical discourse analysis, where we will use the following two main documents: The Danish Social Benefits Law from 1976 and the Danish Unemployment Benefits Law from 2013 in the examination of the discursive and social practice. Further, we will use our theory from political science and sociology in the final analysis of the social practice, in which we will uncover the overall development of social theory. In the post-World War II period in Denmark the universal welfare model expanded rapidly. This development was partly due to a strong Socialdemocratic movement, where there was a broad political consensus to implement a number of social reforms until the late 1970’s. One of the projects main documents; the Danish Social Benefits Law was implemented in 1976. Through our critical discourse analysis we have obtained an understanding of the dominant political discourse at this time, represented in the law from 1976. This discourse had its roots in the universal Socialdemocratic welfare state and society. From the 1980’s this discursive understanding started to change and a new course entered the political arena. A more neo-liberal approach to society gained influence and took part in developing the Danish Welfare state further. This was expressed by new concepts such as “the Competitive State” and “New Public Management”. The evidence of this movement becomes apparent in the comparative critical discourse analysis of the Danish Social Benefits law 1976 and the Danish Unemployment Benefits Law 2013. To do the analysis of the two laws we have divided it into three categories concerning different recipients of social benefits: Job ready, activity ready and education ready. After examining these three categories, we have identified that there has been a significant change in the social contract between the state and its citizens. This is seen especially in the increased accountability, contractualization and commodification of the individual. When these results are seen in correlation with our solidarity theory, we discover how reforms in the social contract are pivotal in changing solidarity among a society’s citizens. By using Søren Juul's normative concept of solidarity we discover, that according to him, the changes in the Danish Unemployment Benefits Law will create a barrier for solidarity. To be more precise this barrier may occur if individuals are unable to achieve Honneth’s third recognition need, social appreciation. Furthermore we discuss and analyze how Jodi Dean's reflective solidarity is relevant to describe how solidarity is expressed in today’s society. Søren Juul has developed Dean’s notion of solidarity further and created a descriptive theory of personal and institutionalized reflective solidarity. Especially the institutionalized reflexive solidarity concept describes solidarity in a late modern society. It is concluded that there has been a change of solidarity in the Danish welfare state, towards a more reflective solidarity. It is therefore concluded that with the many social reforms, including the Danish Unemployment Benefits Law there is both a change in the social contract and in solidarity in Denmark. This is due to the fact that elements from the Competitive State has influenced the predominant discourse in Denmark and thereby determined the social reforms.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato21 jan. 2014


  • Social contract
  • Solidarity
  • Discourse analysis
  • Søren Juul
  • Konkurrencestat