Overgrebsparadokset - Når overgrebsforebyggelse bliver et overgreb: En biopolitisk analyse af danske børneinstitutioners retningslinjer til forebyggelse af pædofili

Katrine Waldorff

Student thesis: Master thesis


The Danish Day-Care Paradox – When Abuse Prevention Becomes Abusive. It is increasingly becoming standard for Danish day-care institutions to have guidelines on how employees are supposed to treat and interact with children – and in some instances on how the children are supposed to interact with each other. The guidelines serve the dual purpose of limiting the possibility of child abuse as well as protecting the childcare professionals from false accusations. With this thesis, I set out to investigate this particular duality by asking the question: How do guidelines in childcare institutions create a contradiction in which abuse prevention becomes abusive? With German sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory, I showed that the guidelines have evolved through a system characterized by several re-entries that place the employees simultaneously inside and outside the day-care centre observed as a distinct system. This systemic reality creates a paradoxical deviation from the pedagogic nurture code, as defined by Luhmann, where care is undermined to calm sceptics outside of the organization. With French philosopher Michel Foucault’s works about power relations, I showed that the systemic complexity and the architectural design of the institutions as Panoptic prisons contribute to fostering a disciplinary culture, in which the role of witness and guard is installed in all employees. The power at play, however, also takes a bio political shape, in that the guidelines seek not only to control behaviour but also thought and biological human instinct. Through subjectivation, employees must embody the paedophile in thought in order to remove themselves from situations that can be misinterpreted. I call this the Schizophrenia Paradox as it hybridizes the individual. This paradox goes hand in hand with the Potentiality Paradox where the employee is constantly aware of the potential risk of accusation and the state of exception that is likely to follow, as theorized by literary heir to Foucault, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. The three paradoxes identified in the thesis – the Care Paradox, the Schizophrenia Paradox, and the Potentiality Paradox – ultimately amount to one overarching paradox encompassing them all. The Abuse Paradox shows us that the prevention of abuse and false accusation ultimately results in another form of abuse towards not the child but the childcare professional who is forced to change his behaviour and the way he thinks, as he is constantly aware of his potential desubjectivation and loss of political agency.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages61