Børns problemer - det sociales problem

  • Marie Appel Nissen
  • Lars Skov Henriksen


A Social problems’ approach to the conceptualization of the normal/deviant child Interest in children, childhood and child welfare seems to have increased during the last 10-15 years in Denmark. One example of this interest is the various governmental child commissions that have been set up. The general pur-pose of this commission work has been to put children’s rights and children’s needs on the political agenda. This work has in part been guided by concern for the skills and competences needed for participation in a late modern and highly differentiated society. In this article we analyze the evolution of political communication about children from the beginning of the 20th century until today. The distinc-tion between the normal and the deviant child seems to be a primary code for the political construction of the child as well as for decision making about children. This is a code that produces new categories of deviant children. We argue that increasing complexity in society pushes the differentiation of problem compensating systems forward. The result is an increasing internal (political) contingency which can only be dealt with by locating (a social) problem within the generalized individual child. We suggest how-ever that problems related to the child should also be conceptualized and dealt with as social problems.