New books


The heretical political discourse

A discourse analysis of the Danish debate on basic income

Erik Christensen

Aalborg Universitetsforlag 2008. 164 s.
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

   "Basic income is fascinating because it is linked to
      practical problems and great reforms."

In the beginning of the 1990s, Denmark was developing along a `basic income path´. At that time the hegemonic growth discourse was in crisis. Its legitimacy was doubted in the public opinion, and because of the unemployment crisis, basic in- come had been put on the agenda by new political networks and minority groups.

However, at the same time a new labour market policy called `activation´ was in- troduced, and slowly, at the rhetorical level, the question of basic income was ex- cluded. In public political debates and within the political parties, a workfare dis- course was created, and basic income came to be considered a heretical political discourse and was made a target of negative political stereotyping.

This anthology about the basic income debate in Denmark offers a discourse- analytical perspective on Denmark's development from a universal welfare state to a workfare state. With its analysis of metaphors, narratives and key concepts in the debate, it unveils how the basic income discourse ended up being both heretical and excluded.

Lastly, it provides a global ecological argument for a basic income and discusses the conditions for bringing back the basic income question on the political agenda.

About the author:

Erik Christensen is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, Politics and Public Administration, Aalborg University. He has for many years been involved in debating the relevance of basic Income.