Hvem troede de jeg var? Når tidligere børnehjemsbørn læser deres journal - konflikter, håndteringsstrategier og potentialer

Jacob Knage Rasmussen

    Research output: ThesisPh.D. thesis


    In the wake of the last 15-20 years of several international children's homes inquiries and commissions, the wish to understand the impact of the personal case record on the memory reconstruction of care leavers as well as the case record's potential as a historic source has become increasingly obvious. Historians have been particularly interested in exploring the differences between the memories of care leavers and the contents of their case records. From a social perspective, creating a ”Supported access to the case record” for care leavers, designed to unfold and strengthen the positive and reduce the negative potential of the record is a challenge.

    The purpose of the present thesis is to explore the record's historical and emancipatory potential hence qualifying the development of a model for ”Supported access to case records”.

    The emperical baseline of the thesis is in-depth interviews with seven care leavers and their preserved case records from six different Danish children's homes. The common denominator of this group is that all the subjects have been residents during the period of 1947-1990, and they all wanted to find, read and reflect upon the contents of their own case records. By analysing the interviews, I examine the reading's different phases of before, during and after the reading and then compare their strategies for reading the case record and constructing their individual life stories. Through my own active participation in this process, I clarify the researcher's potential roll as catalyst for change.

    Analytically, I identify the antithetical relation between memories and case records as being a series of conflict zones. I examine how these conflict zones are managed care leavers and explore the impact on their memory and interpretation process. Applying the concrete analyses of the thesis, I show how care leavers turn the reading of the case record into a method of taking ownership of their own identity, life story and case record. Furthermore, I indicate how management strategies like ”voice”, ”rejection” and ”acceptance” can, in different ways, contribute to activating new and alternative narratives and how they can strengthen, confirm or dissolve the identified conflict zones. I particularly emphasise the importance of the ”voice” method for ”narrative repair” as a means to strengthen the attempts by care leavers to create the version of their life story that they can live with (Composure). By including care leavers as ”Alternative experts” and hence challenge the sanctity of the case record as a witness to the truth, I will show how you can create a more pluralistic and democratic approach to the history of children and social welfare. Lastly, I introduce a model for ”Supported access to the case record”, which focuses on the significance of a clear and intelligible matching of expectations, reading aloud, dialogue and the possibility for care leavers to claim ownership.

    With this thesis, I expand the existing knowledge on the case record's impact on the memory and interpretation process of care leavers. I particularly demonstrate how different management strategies can contribute to unfolding and strengthening the vast historical and emancipatorical potential. Furthermore, the thesis contributes to an increase of focus on the ”afterlife” of the case record and on the long-range consequences of stigmatising or excluding parlance on care leavers. Last but not least, the thesis is contributing to a general discussion on the social roll and responsibility of the museums by emphasising the potential application of including care leavers as ”Alternative experts”.

    Original languageDanish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Southern Denmark
    • Petersen, Klaus, Supervisor
    Publication statusPublished - 29. Jul 2021

    Note re. dissertation

    Print copy of the thesis is restricted to reference use in the Library. 

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