Præsidenter kunne være anderledes
AbstractAnders Horsbøl: Presidents can be different. Outline of a discourse analytical study of public opinion formation The purpose of this article is to link discourse analysis and theories of public space in order to investigate the formation of public opinion in the mass media. In this regard discourse analysis is understood a neither a fixed method nor a universal theory of the social, but as a per se interdisciplinary approach that needs to be articulated with knowledge systems in specific studies. The article employs the concept of public sphere as developed and rethought by Habermas and a Luhman-style approach to help conceptualise central features of the political and mediated public space in modern complex societies. This conceptualisation leads to a number of rearticulations of discourse analysis as a perspective on formation of public opinion, resulting in a focus on interdiscursivity, reflexivity and recontextualisation. A case study of the Austrian media at the time of the presidential election in 1998 serves as a point of reference and is analysed in order to illustrate how the approach can be applied.