Tracing Sustainable Development - a discourse analysis of Danish development strategies

Emma Sander Poulsen, Raphael Matias Christensen & Olivia Freiesleben Frier

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


This paper examines how ‘sustainable development’ has been constructed in strategies for Danish development cooperation and whether the concept has altered the scope and ambitions of the strategies. In global development cooperation, the use of ‘sustainable development’ has increased dramatically since the linking of development and sustainability was first made in 1987. Drawing on Foucault’s genealogical approach, this paper aims to trace the construction of sustainable development in Danish development strategies and problematise its wide application. Through a discourse analysis of eight Danish development strategies from 1974 to 2017, we show how sustainable development has transformed in Danish strategies from being a peripheral concept that refers to environmental concerns to becoming a core principle that emphasises economic dimensions. The paper observes a major shift in the scope and direction of Danish development strategies between 2000 and 2003, from problematising poverty to problematising globalisation. Despite the increasing prominence of sustainable development in the strategies, they are still contingent on the dominating discourses and regime of truths in which they are inscribed. Additionally, the respective governments publishing the strategies seems to have an influence on what issues are problematised and consequently addressed.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Bachelor
Antal sider61