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Joenniemi, Pertti
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
DIIS Working Paper 2005:10
This contribution probes the essence of Denmark as a political project by using conscription as an inroad and employing it as a lens that provides insight into the way some of the key constitutive relationships underpinning Denmark have been unfolding over time. Conscription is approached by focusing on its discursive features, those furnishing it with – or depriving it of – ideational power. The core question to be explored consists of whether conscription has resided as an integral part of Danishness thereby contributing to the tight links between the state, nation and people (folk) or if it has rather been depicted as something quite non-Danish but accepted as a kind of military necessity, a system imposed upon Denmark due to harsh external conditions. Is it there as an expression of some inner characteristics of Denmark as a political project and important for reasons of identity or rather stand out as a kind of ‘foreign’ and imposed element to be tolerated as a practical necessity and, in the latter case, to be dismissed once the opportunity occurs? Finally, the paper explores the current essence of Denmark against the background of the security-related discourse and conscription in particular. Three possible ways of depicting what the decisive dynamics have basically been about are staked out. It is claimed that rather than resonating with various traditionalist or transitionalist accounts with the past as a core departure, Denmark is increasingly anchored in stories that stress dangers inherent in possible futures with the project thus being redefined both as to its temporal anchorage and spatial underpinnings.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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