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Politisk krishantering i Danmark: Krisen i samband med publiceringen av Muhammedkarikatyrerna 2005-2006
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), CRISMART (National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training).
2008 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

On September 30, 2005, twelve caricatures of the prophet Mohammed werepublished in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The most well-known ofthe images portrayed the prophet Mohammed with his turban in shape of abomb on which the Muslim confession of faith was written. The subsequentcourse of events led the Danish government and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs into a foreign affairs crisis, which was later described as the largest crisisfor Denmark since the Second World War. The crisis upset diplomatic relationsbetween Denmark and several countries in the Middle East, such as SaudiArabia, Libya and Iran. Likewise, violent demonstrations and attacks weremade on Danish embassies around the world. The Mohammed caricatures crisisdemonstrated how political, economic, cultural and religious issues on thenational level can quickly and violently spread to the international level.

The study’s analytical point of departure was inspired by Sundelius andStern’s cognitive-institutional framework which takes into account actors’ differentsocial, administrative, and institutional contexts for decision-making.Decision-making is affected both by an individual actor’s notions and values aswell as the institutional environment. The approach builds upon neo-institutionaltheories that illuminate the importance of institutional structures, rules,norms and routines. It also takes into account the cognitive research on subjectivityand representation and how individual expectations and experiences of the world affect decision-making for groups and individuals. In this study, anumber of analytical themes were used to shed light on the crisis managementof the Mohammed caricatures, such as problem framing, information processing,leadership, crisis learning, and institutional change.

Empirical knowledge about the crisis surrounding the 2005 publication ofthe Mohammed caricatures was collected from interviews, news coverage, officialdocuments, public investigations, and newspaper articles. The use of newmedia technology had a significant impact in this crisis, and the study’s findingsillustrated the importance of knowing how to find, use, understand, and manageinformation from traditional sources (newspapers, television, radio) as wellas from more modern sources (text messages, e-mails, blogs and chat rooms). A well-established institution like the Danish Foreign Ministry, which is boundby tradition, often displays a certain amount of inherent slowness for adaptingand implementing new technology. Change is a significant, and unavoidable,challenge for such institutions. Crises can make institutional changes possiblethat would be otherwise difficult to implement under normal conditions. Oneimportant change after the crisis was the establishment of a new unit for communication,The Unit for Public Diplomacy.

In conclusion, internationalization, transnationalization and globalizationwere important issues during this crisis. For example, the organization DansktIslamskt Trossamfund had direct contact with representatives in the MiddleEast in an attempt to mobilize support for their problem framing of the crisis.They utilized strategic lobbyism for setting up goals and contacting strategicand influential actors, and in turn they were successful in selling their framingof the problem to people in the government, public sector and business organizationsin the Middle East.

Another interesting conclusion was the fact that the Danish government waslimited in what it could say and how it could act during the crisis, since the problemhad been framed on the complex issue of freedom of speech and freedomof the press. The crisis management became a balance act between domesticand foreign policy.

The crisis of the Mohammed caricatures resulted in a long aftermath. There-publication of the caricatures in Danish newspapers in February 2008 causednew boycotts against Danish companies. Denmark’s refusal to apologize for thepublication of the drawings also resulted in an attack on the Danish embassy inIslamabad, Pakistan, in the beginning of June 2008 by the Al Qaeda network.These incidents clearly illustrated that the crisis regarding the publication ofthe Mohammed caricatures in Denmark has not yet been put to rest.

Abstract [sv]

I studien analyseras det danska hanterandet av den situation som uppstod i samband med att den danska dagstidningen Jyllands-Posten den 30 september 2005 publicerade tolv karikatyrer av profeten Muhammed. Publiceringen utlöste en våg av protester världen över och kom bland annat att leda till flera attentat mot danska ambassader och bojkotter mot danska företag samt ett antal dödsfall i samband med de demonstrationer som hölls i protest mot publiceringen. Studien presenterar ett antal problem som de danska beslutsfattarna ställdes inför under hösten 2005 och våren 2006. För att fördjupa förståelsen av krisbeslutsfattandet analyseras detta vidare utifrån ett antal teman som knyter an till tidigare krishanteringsforskning. Dessa teman är problemrinramning, informationshantering, ledarskap samt institutionella förändringar och lärande utifrån krisen. Studien visar på flera intressanta resultat, främst att krisens dynamik ställde nya krav på mediehantering och omvärldsanalys. Nya media, som sms, e-mail, bloggar och chatrooms på Internet kom att få stor betydelse för krisens globala utbredning. Krisen kom att öppna upp för institutionella förändringar, som etablerandet av en ny enhet för kommunikation inom det danska Utrikesdepartementet. En annan observation är hur transnationella nätverk kan mobiliseras genom att aktörer och/eller organisationer inom olika politiska och religiösa områden engagerar sig inom olika nätverk för att nå inflytande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan , 2008. , 84 p.
Series
A publication of the Crisis Management Europe Research Program, ISSN 1650-3856 ; 37
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och internationell samverkan
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-40ISBN: 9789189683013 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-40DiVA: diva2:234618
Available from: 2009-09-09 Created: 2009-09-09 Last updated: 2017-08-03Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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