Life-and-Death Decisions in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Denmark: The Discrete Authority of Origin Stories

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

In what ways are care and compassion implicated in efforts to establish lives worth living? Drawing on fieldwork in a Danish Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), in this article we investigate the role of family biographies in conducting life-and-death decisions around premature infants. Guided by a larger literature on citizenship, we view decisions in the NICU as political acts of assigning citizenship. We ask what bodies and biographies can generate and evoke care and compassion among NICU staff and forge entries or exits from the Danish Welfare State. We demonstrate that infants’ origin stories are appointed legitimate forms of suffering in contemporary Danish society and are thus granted an unnoticed form of authority in life-and-death decisions. In this way, we conclude that what comes to constitute a life worth living in the twenty-first-century Danish Welfare State is in fact the worth of the family.

Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)344-361
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2019

ID: 241159132