Puttemiddag: A-Z

Sarah Elisabeth Hentley Boye, Eva Lundsgård Jensen, Rikke Bohart Thygesen, Sol Mette Jensen & Anthon Harald Hougaard

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This paper examines the social phenomenon of “puttemiddage” and has the following problem statement: Why do high-school students participate in the “puttemiddag” event, and can the phenomenon help reproduce a culture that normalizes violations through social interaction?
The “puttemiddag” is a social event where senior students of the same sex invite the new freshmen students of the opposite sex for a dinner and party. However, the entire school is not guaranteed participation, it is only a small group of the students who get invited to the noto-rious dinners.

To examine the first part of our problem statement; why high school students participate in “puttemiddage”, we arranged two interviews with present high-school students, whom have participated in- and arranged the dinners. In this part of the problem statement we are curious of the psychological and social processes which first of all cause the individual to participate in this type of dinner. To analyze our interviews with this focus we choose to work with the theo-ries: Social Identity by Richard Jenkins, Identity - Youth and Crisis by Erik H. Erikson on Identity, Facework by Erving Goffmann and Group Psychology by Sigmund Freud. With this focus in the analysis we found, that the individual gets a lot of recognition and approval by be-ing a part of a group, but also being acknowledged for its participation and role in the group. Furthermore the individual craves such exclusive groups because it reflects a type of social sta-tus, and that the individual has what it takes to be chosen. This means, that the “puttemiddag” is an attractive event, because it provides a community and base where the individual can get ap-proval and explore and strengthen its identity. This leads us to a central part of the analysis which is the group setting and dynamics. We wanted to understand why the individuals act and behave the way they do in a group setting, even if this contradicts their own morals and values. Based on our interviews we found that since a group and community is such an important thing for the individual, they will most often compromise on their own values and boundaries to ac-commodate the groups’ activities and boundaries. This means that the groups’ values and rou-tines often will dictate the response and actions of the individual. Based on our interviews, the dinners are arranged by seniors whom also were invited in the freshmen year, which means that the organizers often replicate activities in senior year, from the dinners they have been part of in freshmen year. This happens even though our interviewees express that they experienced com-promising their boundaries at the dinner they participated in, in freshman year.
Through our analysis of our interviews, we also found another interesting aspect; the power relation between the freshmen and the seniors in High School. For this aspect we used Dag Heede’s introduction to Michel Foucault to enlighten this power relation. Here we con-cluded that there are internal processes which mean, that the seniors have more privileges than the freshmen in high-school, but at the “puttemiddag” this relation fades for the most parts. Another topic we found prominent through our processing of the interviews, was ‘sexuality and gender’. To enlighten this topic we used Judith Butler’s and Dorte M. Søndergaard’s theo-ries on the heterosexual matrix. We analyzed the activities of the “puttemiddag”, and found that the activities are gender specific and demand that one desires the opposite sex. Additionally the whole structure of the dinners is built around the heterosexual norm. We can therefore also conclude that exploring one's sexuality may be one of the reasons for participating in the din-ners.

Based on our finished analysis we could move on to discuss the second part of our problem statement; whether the phenomenon reproduces a culture which normalizes violation through the social interactions. Here we discussed that since the individual would do anything to ac-commodate the groups wishes, they can tend to, or risk to participate in activities which exceed their own personal limit. At the same time parties and dinners like this, and the boundary-searching has been a part of the youth for as long as we know of. Furthermore the replication of previous dinners could result in a reproduce of activities which challenge the individuals personal limits, since the activities never are customized in order of the new freshmen students. This resulted in in the conclusion, that the “puttemiddag” generally as an event does not con-tribute to reproducing a culture which normalizes violation, but has components that potentially can produce a culture, which for individuals may be offensive.

UddannelserBasis - Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2018
Antal sider64


  • Puttemiddag
  • Gymnasium
  • Goffman
  • Freud
  • Face
  • Line
  • Social Interaktion
  • Søndergaard
  • Butler