Mixed parentage: Negotiating identity in Denmark

Helene Bang Appel, Rashmi Singla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Despite an increase in cross border intimate relationships and children of mixed parentage, there is little mention or scholarship about them in the area of childhood and migrancy in the Nordic countries. The international literature implies historical pathologisation, contestation and current complex paradigms regarding these children.
This chapter explores how children of mixed parentage negotiate their identities in the Danish context, where statistically and socially there are no widely acceptable terms for categorizing them. To this purpose, an empirical qualitative in-depth-interview study of children and young people of mixed parentage residing in Copenhagen area is conducted. The theoretical framework is eclectic, combining post-structural approach with mixed identity negotiation theory and transnationalism.
The main conclusion is that, the children reveal differential strategies of identity formation in the . They position themselves as having an “in-between” identity or “ just Danes” in their every day lives among friends, family, and during leisure activities. Thus a new paradigm is evolving away- from the pathologisation of mixed children, simplified one-sided categories. These findings also have implications for societal policy and practices related to mixed children.

Word count: 184
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContested Childhoods: Growing up in Migrancy : Migration, Governance, Identities
Editors Marie-Louise Seeberg, Elżbieta M. Goździak
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date27 Oct 2016
ISBN (Print)9783319446080
ISBN (Electronic)9783319446103
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2016
SeriesIMISCOE Research Series


  • historical pathologisation
  • statistically and socially no widely accepted term
  • partial migrancy
  • “in-between” identity or “ just Danes ”
  • a new paradigm evolving

Cite this

Bang Appel, H., & Singla, R. (2016). Mixed parentage: Negotiating identity in Denmark. In M-L. Seeberg, & E. M. Goździak (Eds.), Contested Childhoods: Growing up in Migrancy: Migration, Governance, Identities (pp. 139-157). Springer. IMISCOE Research Series https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44610-3_8