The reigning white-saviours of Danish discourse on transnational adoption

Sofie Aaltonen, Jessica Petersen, Amalie Tigist Fürsterling Rasmussen, Carol Naa-Commeyorkor Commey, Shabana Naseri & Bontle Lorraine Tswai

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This project examines the Danish public discourse around transnational adoption and how one hegemonic discourse is shaping the perception in the public. The aim of this project was to detect if a notion of white-saviourism exits within the hegemonic discourse in Denmark. Through a poststructuralist philosophical standpoint and Foucauldian discourse analysis statements are analysed in their appearance. The statements are produced in the media by different adoption agencies, organisations and actors within the practice of transnational adoption. The power imbalances within the practice were identified through the theories of Foucault, post-colonialism and the concept of white-saviourism. The hegemonic discourse is altered by the state and a legitimised agency that works to uphold the adoption system in Denmark as a given, claiming that they are the only ones credible to have authority to conduct the practice. However, this project conclusively detected that the underlying structures behind the adoption system in Denmark had formed the articulated discourse, which to some extent includes white-saviourism and a colonial discourse with tendencies of the theory of the Subaltern, constituting the adoptee’s origins as inferior and underdeveloped. Moreover, the media covering the practice and some organisations working within this field has presented transnational adoption from a nuanced view, where actors within the public debate have prompted criticism towards the normative and hegemonic discourse and are challenging the structures of transnational adoption, calling for more transparency and latitude for differentiating voices to be presented.

UddannelserBasis - International Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato26 maj 2019
Antal sider79
VejledereKlaas Dykmann


  • Transnational adoption
  • Post-colonialism
  • White-saviourism
  • Poststructuralism
  • Power imbalances
  • Foucault
  • Subaltern
  • Power relations
  • Media
  • Discourse
  • Adoptee
  • Structural
  • Organizations