Identitet til forhandling –: Et speciale om identitetsforhandlinger i relation til samfundsfænomenet særlig sensitivitet

Frederikke Sund

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The purpose of this thesis will be to focus on the concept of identity negotiations as they relate to the social phenomenon of High Sensitivity – a relatively new phenomenon, which has gained much interest in Danish society, as well in the rest of the western world. Based upon empirical qualitative studies (interviews) with three women: Dorothea, Salma and Paula, I have gained insight into their individual identity negotiations and perspectives, either as a parent to a sensitive child (Dorothea), or from the perspectives of two professionals (Salma and Paula). I view my own role as a co-producer of the resulting interviews with my three informants, inspired by my choice of scientific approach and method of symbolic interactionism. This approach has influenced the different phases of this thesis: from the beginning reflections to the closer narrowing of the focus, and the subsequent analytical, discursive and concluding sections. From a theoretical point of view, the theories represent social anthropologist Richard Jenkins (identity theory), sociologist Erving Goffman (dramatically perspective and Stigma theory) and philosopher Axel Honneth (recognition theory). The aim of the analysis is that the theories should complement rather than contradict each other. This consideration forms the foundation for an adequate analysis and discussion of identity negotiations in relation to a phenomenon such as high sensitivity. The analysis demonstrates three very different insights to identity negotiations: Dorothea identifies herself and her son Seamus as being highly sensitive, which represents her parent perspective – when Seamus’ identity is at stake, Dorothea’s identity also suffers. Through Goffman’s concept of idealization, Dorothea performs an idealized performance front stage as ‘the good and responsible parent’, when she describes not being recognized by Seamus’ ‘old pedagogues’. Here the theme of ‘the parenting role’ occurs, which constitutes the cumulative discussion of all three informants. Salma’s analysis demonstrates a different perspective. Salma describes it as ‘disturbing’ for her role and identity as an expert (PPR: pedagogical psychological counselor in a municipality in the Copenhagen area), when parents are persistent in their definition of their child as being sensitive. It is an obstacle for her PPR-guidance. The last analysis with Paula forms an intermediate position between Dorothea and Salma. In her role as preschool teacher, Paula is positively receptive towards elements of the definition of high sensitivity. However, she identifies the urge within Danish society to generalize “that everybody is sensitive” and to encourage parents not to categorize their children too quickly. Based on these theoretical and empirical considerations, my conclusion is that the assessment of this phenomenon is very complex.

UddannelserPædagogik og Uddannelsesstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato31 mar. 2016
VejledereKim Rasmussen


  • særligt sensitiv
  • Identitet, identitetsforhandlinger, særlig sensitivitet