The Foreign Other and the Norwegian Self : a discourse analysis of the Norwegian media debate on prostitution policy from 2009 to 2013
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This thesis is a discourse analysis of the Norwegian prostitution debates from 2009 to 2013. The study is conducted through text analyses of news articles presented in the three Norwegian national newspapers Dagbladet, Aftenposten and Klassekampen. By drawing on Lene Hansen’s framework presented in her work Security as Practice, the thesis focuses on identity constructions in the media debates on prostitution. The main analytical research question of this thesis is “What identity constructions are articulated in the Norwegian media debates on prostitution policy after the 2009 ban against purchase of sexual services was introduced?” The 2009 ban against purchase of sexual services is a contested and highly disputed issue in Norway. By investigating identity constructions through the articulation of Self-identity, difference and Otherness in Norwegian newspapers, this thesis seeks to provide an extensive analysis of the Norwegian debates as a response to the introduction of the 2009 ban against purchase of sexual services. I found that the dominant representations within the Norwegian media debates on prostitution seem to be blooming from an object/subject dichotomy. While foreign women in prostitution were described as victims, Norwegian women in prostitution were described as individual agents with freedom to choose. The dichotomy also produced a contrast between the Norwegian Self and the foreign Other at the state level. Norway’s national identity became particularly evident through implicit identity constructions: What is not considered Norwegian. Through a differentiation process, foreign prostitution was represented in terms of criminal networks, organized crime and uncivilized anarchy. Overall, I note how foreign prostitution is described as both radically different from and a threat to Norway’s national Self-identity.