A discussion of the politics of childhood in contemporary Denmark
In the chapter, I discuss the role day care institutions play in the construction of the idea of proper childhood in Denmark. Drawing on findings from research on ethnic minority children in two Danish day care institutions, I begin with a discussion of how childcare institutions act as civilising agents, empowered with the legitimate right to define and control normality and proper ways of behaving oneself. I aim to show how institutions come to define the normal child and proper childhood in accordance with current efforts toward reinventing national culture, exemplified by legislation requiring current testing of Danish language fluency levels among pre-school minority children. Testing language skills marks and defines distinctions that reinforce images of deviance that, in turn, legitimize initiatives to enrol children, specifically minority children, in child care institutions.
European Childhoods: Cultures, Politics and Childhoods in Europe, 2008