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Christian Sandbjerg Hansen


Christian Sandbjerg Hansen


I am associate professor of social pedagogy and educational sociology. My main areas of research and teaching are urban marginality, social inequality, welfare work and the state. I focus on everyday life, classification struggles, symbolic violence, and the historical production and institutionalization of social problems, (professional) interventions and pedagogical actions. Methodologically, I draw inspiration from ethnographic traditions, especially (life history) interviews and archive/document studies.

I participate in the research program Social Exclusion and Pedagogy in the Welfare State, and the research unit History of Education. 

I am part of the editorial boards of Dansk pædagogisk Tidsskrift [The Danish Pedagogical Journal]: dpt.dk, and Praktiske Grunde [Practical Reasons]: praktiskegrunde.dk

For the past years, I have studied urban marginality, territorial stigmatisation and the intertwined relations between cultural representations, social pedagogical interventions and lived experiences of place from around 1900 through today, focusing on the infamous Copenhagen neighbourhood known as the North West. A new book is entitled The Making of Place and People in the Danish Metropolis: A Sociohistory of Copenhagen North West (Routledge).

I am also working on a book on the transformation of prostitution, inner city Copenhagen and the state in the period of 1930s through 1960s. Based on a unique sample of historical sources (primarily police and court records), I track the symbolic struggles that contributed to the remaking of prostitution as an official social problem. Analysing the transformations of categories of professional judgments involved in the practical interventions in the lives of sex-workers, the book shows how acts of nomination performed by state agents and institutions intersect with the urban regeneration of the poor neighbourhoods in the inner city. 

Focusing on the social, symbolic and spatial engines and experiences of marginality, especially the function of welfare work in re-shaping inequalities, I am currently developing research on the social and historical structures of and dynamics between family, community, welfare and state. For the moment, I anchor this research in two projects:

  • “Gender, violence and welfare” explore the (trans)formations of welfare work addressing battered men and women (in collaboration with Eva Bertelsen/LOKK)
  • “Community building and the everyday of diagnosed lives” explore the intersections of social class, place and ethnicity by following a sport-based social work initiative organised through a partnership between a NGO and public agencies (in collaboration with BørneBasketFonden and the project ”Inkluderende fællesskabelse – tværgående samarbejder om børn med autisme og ADHD i praksis”)

The core of my previous research has been the welfare of children and juveniles focusing on the history of correctional institutions, orphanages, street-work and day cares in light of state transformation, professional identities and pedagogical practices from around the early 1800 through today.

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