Chapter 3. Under fire

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The chapter addresses Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s performance of leadership through an analysis of her use of 1st person pronouns in two news interviews, one in Danish and the other in English. The analysis reveals a preference for the collective perspective, particularly in the Danish interview. Through strategies of shifting, blurring, aligning and contesting perspective, Thorning-Schmidt deals with issues of crisis and identity management. There are indications that she is operating with notions of transformational leadership, blended with characteristics of transactional leadership. Although a transformational leadership style is argued by some to be more feminine, I suggest that gender aspects are more apparent in relation to Thorning-Schmidt’s authenticity and legitimacy as a social democrat in the national, but not the international, context.


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