Images of the child in Danish welfare work in health visiting and day-care

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This empirical article investigates the underlying ideas and images of children and childhood in the practice of health visitors and preschool teachers. Theoretically the article is based on the interpretation that these ideas and images are essential to understand the governing of children, though that the ideas of the possible and available subject positions in society are considered to be
powerful and productive. As a typology for differing ideas about children and childhood, the article uses the child images developed by Chris Jenks and further developed by Karen M Smith. Furthermore, the analysis draws on concepts of Michel Foucault
and Nikolas Rose. The results are based on ethnographical fieldwork and interviews, and the article concludes that both an innocent and a responsible image of the child form the practice of the health visitors and preschool teachers. An innocent child image fills up
most of the time, but when the health visitors and preschool teachers are seeking explicitly to intervene and influence the children, a responsible child image is clearly dominant.
Translated title of the contributionForestillinger om barnet i dansk velfærdsstatsligt arbejde i sundhedspleje og i børnhaver
Original languageEnglish
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • children and youth

Cite this