Damsted Rasmussen, Trine, Sarah Fredsted Villadsen, Per Kragh Andersen, Signe Smith Jervelund, and Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen. Social and ethnic disparities in stillbirth and infant death in Denmark, 2005–2016. Scientific Reports, 11, 8001, 2021.
Ethnic disparity in stillbirth and infant death has been demonstrated in Europe. As the relation between migration and health change over time, this population based register study investigated the recent figures and explored if potential differences could be explained by the well-known educational and income inequalities in stillbirth and infant death using a novel approach. Stillbirth and infant mortality varied considerably according to country of origin, with only immigrants from China, Norway, and Poland having an overall lower risk than Danish women. Women of Pakistani, Turkish, and Somali origin had a particularly high risk of both outcomes. Women from recent high conflict areas displayed a pattern with increased stillbirth risk. An observed excess risks across generations was found, which is disturbing and rule out factors related to language barriers or newness. Differences in educational level and household income explained only part of the observed inequalities. Strengthening of the maternity care system to better understand and meet the needs of immigrant women seems needed to mitigate the disparities.
Marvel, Stu, Reproducing the Intersections of Inclusion and Exclusion: Exploring Gender Recognition Laws, Reproductive Technology, and the Children’s Act in Denmark, AG About Gender – International Journal of Gender Studies, 11.22 (2022)
This paper explores a November 2017 ruling from a Copenhagen appellate court, which involved a transgender man, his cisgender female partner, and their child conceived through third-party donor conception. In mapping the inclusions and exclusions performed by multiple domains of law, this paper applies an intersectional heuristic to track the state reproduction of reproductive norms. Although the plaintiff, a Korean adoptee, had legally changed his gender identity from female to male by the time the child was born, the case arose when he sought recognition of his fatherhood – not motherhood – for his mixed-race child. Intersectional analysis offers a powerful tool to map the dense cluster of Danish law at work in this case, as an institutional matrix that simultaneously recognized self-elected gender identity; denied socially gendered parenthood; and failed to register claims to inter-generational racial affiliation within cross-cutting legal architectures.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘“The Christened Mulatresses”: Euro-African Families in a Slave-Trading Town’. The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 2, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2013, pp. 371–398.
In the 1760s “Mulatresse Lene” was cassaret (married) to Danish interim governor and slave trader Frantz Joachim Kühberg in Osu on the Gold Coast. The local history of Ga-Danish families such as hers in Osu illustrates how Euro-African women on the West African coast could benefit from marrying European slave traders and could use these marriages to expand their room for maneuver in the coastal society. By marrying European men, christening their children, and sending them to the church school at the Danish fort, Euro-African women claimed a powerful intermediary position in the racialized social hierarchy of the Atlantic slave trade, and as they did so they helped reproduce this same racial hierarchy. Yet Euro-African families were not just taking advantage of their position to widen their opportunities; they were also using it as a means of protection in a violent and stressful slave-trading environment. At the height of the slave trade in the second half of the eighteenth century, Africans participating in the slave trade—even elite Euro-Africans such as Kühberg and her family—were under pressure to protect themselves and their families from being sold across the Atlantic.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘Sexualizing the Other: From Ethnopornography to Interracial Pornography in European Travel Writing about West African Women’. Ethno-Pornography: Sexuality, Colonialism, and Archival Knowledge, Eds. Peter Herman Sigal, Zeb Tortorici, and Neil L Whitehead, 2020.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘“Plant Ikke Upas-Træet Om Vor Bolig”: Colonial Haunting, Race, and Interracial Marriage in Hans Christian Andersen’s Mulatten (1840)’. Scandinavian Studies, vol. 88, no. 2, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, University of Illinois Press, 2016, pp. 129–158.
Ipsen, Pernille. Koko’s Daughters: Danish Men Marrying Ga Women in an Atlantic Slave Trading Port in the Eighteenth Century. Dissertation. Københavns Universistet, 2008,
Ipsen, Pernille. Daughters of the Trade: Atlantic Slavers and Interracial Marriage on the Gold Coast. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.
Severine Brock’s first language was Ga, yet it was not surprising when, in 1842, she married Edward Carstensen. He was the last governor of Christiansborg, the fort that, in the eighteenth century, had been the center of Danish slave trading in West Africa. She was the descendant of Ga-speaking women who had married Danish merchants and traders. Their marriage would have been familiar to Gold Coast traders going back nearly 150 years. In Daughters of the Trade, Pernille Ipsen follows five generations of marriages between African women and Danish men, revealing how interracial marriage created a Euro-African hybrid culture specifically adapted to the Atlantic slave trade.
Although interracial marriage was prohibited in European colonies throughout the Atlantic world, in Gold Coast slave-trading towns it became a recognized and respected custom. Cassare, or ‘keeping house,’ gave European men the support of African women and their kin, which was essential for their survival and success, while African families made alliances with European traders and secured the legitimacy of their offspring by making the unions official.
For many years, Euro-African families lived in close proximity to the violence of the slave trade. Sheltered by their Danish names and connections, they grew wealthy and influential. But their powerful position on the Gold Coast did not extend to the broader Atlantic world, where the link between blackness and slavery grew stronger, and where Euro-African descent did not guarantee privilege. By the time Severine Brock married Edward Carstensen, their world had changed. Daughters of the Trade uncovers the vital role interracial marriage played in the coastal slave trade, the production of racial difference, and the increasing stratification of the early modern Atlantic world.
Enheden for Brugerundersøgelser, editor. Etniske minoriteters oplevelser i mødet med det danske sygehus: en kvalitativ undersøgelse af forældres oplevelser under deres barns indlæggelse på en børneafdeling. København: , 2007.
Tróndheim, Gitte. ‘Grønlandsk adoption : et vigtigt element i grønlandsk slægtskab’. Social kritik, vol. 22, no. 123, 2010, pp. 42–43.
Nexø, Sniff Andersen. ‘Særlige grønlandske forhold … Rum, ret og uægteskabelige børn i det koloniale Grønland’. Historisk Tidsskrift, Sept. 2013.
Making allowance for the special conditions there, the ‘legally fatherless’ appeared before the Danish public in the spring of 2010 as they formed an association aiming at securing children born out of wedlock in Greenland legal rights towards their biological father equal to the ones bestowed on Danish children. The media framed their situation as the result of the colonial system having discharged Danish men from their responsibilities towards their illegitimate children in Greenland; that is, as a token of colonial discrimination. The following year, a historical investigation was organized in order to identify differences in the legal position of children born out of wedlock in Greenland and in Denmark over the period 1914-1974. The present article, authored by one of the contributors to the report, investigates the rules concerning children born out of wedlock in Greenland at three historical moments: The earliest rules of 1782; the first modern regulation from 1914; and the first post-colonial Children’s Act from 1962. What legal and colonial differences were at stake? How may one interpret the changing regulation? The analysis draws attention to shifting problematizations of the ‘illegitimate’ children, associated with changes in the colonial context. At the same time, however, it is argued that the regulation reflects a continuous colonial rationality by which the particularities of the colonial space came to legitimize fundamental differences between colony and metropolis, and between population categories in Greenland.
Lund Jensen, Einar, Sniff Andersen Nexø, and Daniel Thorleifsen. Historisk udredning om de 22 grønlandske børn, der blev sendt til Danmark i 1951 – Afgivet den 15. november 2020. 2020, p. 96,
Gilliam, Laura, and Eva Gulløv. Civiliserende institutioner: Om idealer og distinktioner i opdragelse. Aarhus Universitet, 2012.
I et velfærdssamfund som det danske er børneopdragelse ikke blot forældrenes opgave, men et anliggende for både samfund og stat. Den store opmærksomhed på børns trivsel og opførsel fra både medier og politikere fortæller om en udtalt bevågenhed og statslig prioritering. Denne samfundsinvolvering gør det vigtigt at se nærmere på børneinstitutionerne. For hvad er det for mennesker og medborgere, man søger at opdrage børnene til at blive? Hvad er det for værdier for opførsel og omgang, der arbejdes med? – og stemmer de overens med den opdragelsespraksis, der foregår i familier? Hvilke interesser er institutionaliseringen af børneopdragelsen udtryk for, og hvilke konsekvenser har den for børnene og for samfundet? Med afsæt i sociologen Norbert Elias civiliseringsbegreb forsøger denne bog at besvare disse spørgsmål. På baggrund af etnografiske feltarbejder i børnehaver, folkeskoler og familier, samt interviews med 4-16 årige børn, deres forældre, pædagoger og lærere præsenterer bogen en række analyser af institutionsliv og opdragelse. Formålet er at få indsigt i de idealer og distinktioner, der ligger i den institutionelle organisering af børns liv i det danske velfærdssamfund.
Gilliam, Laura, and Eva Gulløv. Children of the Welfare State. Civilising Practices in Schools, Childcare and Families. Pluto Press, 2016,
This original ethnographic study looks at how children are ‘civilised’ within child institutions, such as schools, day care centres and families, under the auspices of the welfare state. As part of a general discussion on civilising projects and the role of state institutions, the authors focus on Denmark, a country characterised by the extent of time children use in public institutions from an early age. They look at the extraordinary amount of attention and effort put into the process of upbringing by the state, as well as the widespread co-operation in this by parents across the social spectrum. Taking as its point of departure the sociologist Norbert Elias’ concept of civilising, Children of the Welfare State explores the ideals of civilised conduct expressed through institutional upbringing and examine how children of different age, gender, ethnicity and social backgrounds experience and react to these norms and efforts. The analysis demonstrates that welfare state institutions, though characterised by a strong egalitarian ideal, create distinctions between social groups, teach children about moral hierarchies in society and prompts them to identify as more or less civilised citizens of the state.
Johnsen, Helle, Nazila Ghavami Kivi, Cecilie H. Morrison, Mette Juhl, Ulla Christensen, and Sarah F. Villadsen. ‘Addressing Ethnic Disparity in Antenatal Care: A Qualitative Evaluation of Midwives’ Experiences with the MAMAACT Intervention’. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, vol. 20, no. 1, Feb. 2020, p. 118.
In Denmark, 13% of all children are born by non-Western immigrant women. The public antenatal care has not adapted to this increased diversity of women. Compared to women coming from Western countries, non-Western immigrant women have an increased prevalence of severe maternal morbidity and higher risks of maternal death, stillbirth and infant death. Suboptimal care is a contributing factor to these ethnic disparities, and thus the provision of appropriate antenatal care services is pivotal to reducing these disparities and challenges to public health. Yet, little is known about the targeted interventions which have been developed to reduce these inequities in reproductive health. The MAMAACT intervention, which included a training course for midwives, a leaflet and a mobile application, as well as additional visit time, was developed and tested at a maternity ward to increase responses to pregnancy warning signs among midwives and non-Western immigrant women. Aim: To explore the feasibility and acceptability of the MAMAACT intervention among midwives and identify factors affecting midwives’ delivery of the intervention.
Christensen, Marianne Brehm, Sarah Fredsted Villadsen, Tom Weber, Charlotte Wilken-Jensen, and Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen. Higher Rate of Serious Perinatal Events in Non-Western Women in Denmark. Dan Med J. 2016 Mar;63(3).
INTRODUCTION: To elucidate possible mechanisms behind the increased risk of stillbirth and infant mortality among migrants in Denmark, this study aimed to analyse characteristics of perinatal deaths at Hvidovre Hospital 2006-2010 according to maternal country of origin. METHODS: We identified children born at Hvidovre Hospital who died perinatally and included the patient files in a series of case studies. Our data were linked to data from population-covering registries in Statistics Denmark. Timing, causes of death as well as social, medical and obstetric characteristics of the parents were described according to maternal country of origin. RESULTS: This study included 125 perinatal deaths. The data indicated that intrapartum death, death caused by maternal disease, lethal malformation and preterm birth may be more frequent among non-Western than among Danishborn women. Obesity and disposition to diabetes may also be more prevalent among the non-Western women. CONCLUSIONS: The role of obesity, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and severe congenital anomalies should be a main focus in improving our understanding the increased risk of perinatal death among non-Western migrant women in Denmark. Six of 28 perinatal deaths in the non-Western group were intrapartum deaths and warrants further concern.
Keskinen, Suvi. ‘Limits to Speech? The Racialised Politics of Gendered Violence in Denmark and Finland’. Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, Routledge, June 2012, pp. 261–274.
The ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ discourse characterises the current political and media debates in many European countries. This paper analyses how liberal arguments, especially gender equality and freedom of speech, are used to promote nationalist and racialising political agendas in Denmark and Finland. It detects the powerful emergence of a nationalist rhetoric, based on the ‘politics of reversal’ and a re-articulation of liberal notions, in the Nordic countries, which have been known for their collectivist welfare state models and commitments to social equality. Through an analysis of case studies in both countries, the paper shows how debates about gendered violence in Muslim families turn into attempts to broaden the discursive space for racialising speech and to individualise racism.
Keskinen, Suvi. ‘Securitized Intimacies, Welfare State and the “Other” Family’. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, vol. 24, no. 2, Dec. 2017, pp. 154–177.
Analyzing policy documents that aim to tackle violence in minority families, the article examines how normativities related to family, ethnicity, and race are created and challenged. The article develops an analysis of how neoliberal governmentality operates in two Nordic welfare societies. It shows how the governing of ethnicized and racialized minority families is built on three logics: the normalizing family, normative (liberal) individuality, and securitized border rhetoric. Identifying three policy frames (violence, immigration, and security frames), the article argues that the presented ideas of family life and individuality are based on normative whiteness.
Kroløkke, Charlotte, Lene Myong, Stine W. Adrian, and Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, editors. Critical Kinship Studies. London ; New York: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016.
In recent decades the concept of kinship has been challenged and reinvigorated by the so-called “repatriation of anthropology” and by the influence of feminist studies, queer studies, adoption studies, and science and technology studies. These interdisciplinary approaches have been further developed by increases in infertility, reproductive travel, and the emergence of critical movements among transnational adoptees, all of which have served to question how kinship is now practiced. Critical Kinship Studies brings together theoretical and disciplinary perspectives and analytically sensitive perspectives aiming to explore the manifold versions of kinship and the ways in which kinship norms are enforced or challenged.
Matthiesen, Noomi Christine Linde. ‘Working Together in a Deficit Logic: Home–School Partnerships with Somali Diaspora Parents’. Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 20, no. 4, July 2017, pp. 495–507.
Drawing on discursive psychology this article examines the understandings teachers and principals in Danish Public Schools have regarding Somali diaspora parenting practices. Furthermore, the article investigates what these understandings mean in interaction with children in the classrooms and with parents in home–school communication. It is argued that in a society with increased focus on parental responsibility the teachers and principals draw on a deficit logic when dealing with Somali diaspora parents and children which consequently leads to teachers either transmitting their expertise by educating parents or compensating for perceived deficiencies in parental practices. Both these strategies result in significant marginalizing consequences where ‘difference’ is understood as ‘wrong’ or ‘inadequate’.
Myong, Lene, and Mons Bissenbakker. ‘Love Without Borders? White Transraciality in Danish Migration Activism’. Cultural Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 129–146.
Since 2000, Denmark has imposed some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe. Consequently, family reunification has become increasingly difficult for immigrants as well as for Danish citizens. In the fall of 2010, the Danish family reunification laws became subject to criticism and protest by a citizens’ initiative called ‘Love without Borders’ (LWB). The article investigates how LWB managed to generate political momentum around love: an affect which seems to promise inclusion, liberation and togetherness for those directly affected by the laws as well as those attempting to change the laws. Yet the idealized version of love promoted by LWB happened to take the form of romantic intimacy predominantly consisting of straight, young and white-brown couples oriented towards reproduction. Our main argument is that despite its good intentions of supporting migration the activist campaign ‘Love without Borders’ ends up supporting whiteness as the body through which love must flow. As an indicator of the racialized discourses informing LWB’s activism the article introduces the concept of white transraciality. Thus, to LWB love seems to promise affective ties to the nation, to the future and to the political system in ways that sustain white hegemony. Building mainly on Sara Ahmed’s and Laurent Berlant’s reflections on love as cultural politics the article analyzes posters, viral videos and newspaper debates in its discussion of the promises and pitfalls of love as an affective political tool.
Myong, Lene, and Michael Nebeling Petersen. ‘(U)levelige slægtskaber. En analyse af filmen “Rosa Morena”’. K&K – Kultur og Klasse, vol. 40, no. 113, 113, June 2012, pp. 119–132. tidsskrift.dk,
The Danish movie Rosa Morena (2010) tells an unusual story about kinship in which a white homosexual Danish man adopts a child born to a poor black Brazilian woman. Using a theoretical framework of biopolitics and affective labour the article highlights how the male homosexual figure is cast as heteronormative and white in order to gain cultural intelligibility as a parent and thus to become the bearer of a liveable kinship. The casting rests on the affective and reproductive labour of the Brazilian birth mother who is portrayed as an unsuited parent through a colonial discourse steeped in sexualized and racialized imagery. A specific distribution of affect, where anger turns into gratefulness fixates and relegates the birth mother to a state of living dead, and thus she becomes the bearer of an unliveable kinship. This economy of life and death constructs transnational adoption as a vital event in a Foucauldian sense. The adoption, simultaneously, folds a white male homosexual population into life and targets a racialized and poor population as always already dead.
Nebeling Petersen, Michael, and Lene Myong. ‘(Un)Liveabilities: Homonationalism and Transnational Adoption’. Sexualities, vol. 18, no. 3, SAGE Publications Ltd, Mar. 2015, pp. 329–345.
Rosa Morena tells a story about kinship in which a white homosexual Danish man adopts a child born to a black poor Brazilian woman. Using a theoretical framework of biopolitics and affective labour the article highlights how the male homosexual figure is being cast as heteronormative and white in order to become intelligible as a parent and the bearer of liveable kinship. The casting rests on the affective and reproductive labour of the birth mother who is portrayed as an unsuitable parent through a colonial discourse steeped in sexualized and racialized imagery. A specific distribution of affect fixates and relegates the birth mother to a state of living dead, and thus she becomes the bearer of an unliveable kinship.
Nielsen, Asta Smedegaard, and Lene Myong. ‘White Danish Love as Affective Intervention: Studying Media Representations of Family Reunification Involving Children’. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, vol. 9, no. 4, De Gruyter Open, Dec. 2019, pp. 497–514.
Through a close reading of media reporting from 2017 to 2018 on the case of the Chinese girl Liu Yiming, who was first denied then granted residency in Denmark due to public pressure, this article analyses how regulation of family reunification involving children is negotiated in the Danish public imaginary in the context of strong anti-immigration sentiments. This imaginary projects the white Danish public as eager to love Yiming and as affectively invested in reversing the injustice done to her and her family. The article suggests, however, that the outpouring of white love, which functions as an affective intervention imbued with the promises of reversing Yiming’s deportation, is deeply embedded in exceptionalist notions of the ‘integrated’ migrant and that it works to restore an idealised image of a Danish nation defined by ‘human decency’ as a core value. Thus, the analysis raises critical questions to the politics of white love and its promise of securing social change for the ‘integrated’ migrant through collective acts of white feeling.
Padovan-Özdemir, Marta, and Bolette Moldenhawer. ‘Making Precarious Immigrant Families and Weaving the Danish Welfare Nation-State Fabric 1970–2010’. Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 20, no. 6, Routledge, 2017, pp. 723–736.
This article explores the making of immigrant families as precarious elements in the governing of the population’s welfare within the Danish welfare nation- state since the 1970s. The emphasis is on how immigrant families became a problem of welfare governing, and what knowledge practices and welfare techniques emerged as problem-solving responses. The article analyses a diverse set of national and local administrative documents advancing a polyhedron of intelligibility by which the authors discover how problem- solving complexes responsive to immigrant families change and sediment, and ultimately, weave the fabric of a Danish welfare nation-state faced with non-Western immigration after the economic boom in the late 1960s.
Plambech, Sine. ‘’Postordrebrude’’ i Nordvestjylland: Transnationale Ægteskaber i Et omsorgsøkonomisk Perspektiv’. Dansk Sociologi, vol. 16, no. 1, 2005, pp. 91–110,
Søg på Internettet under mail order brides, og 1.100.000 hitshenviser til kvinder, der søger en ægtemand i Vesten – pådansk omtales de som ’’postordrebrude’’. Denne artikel handlerom ægteskaber mellem thailandske kvinder og danske mænd.Deres transnationale ægteskaber giver et indblik i motiverne formigration hos en gruppe af verdens kvindelige migranter;kvinder, der krydser grænser for at indgå ægteskab.