Wilhelm Freddie, "En families genvordigheder" (A family's hardships), 1940

The Politics of Family Secrecy

Every family has a skeleton in the closet, or so the saying goes. A dubious deed or a disgracing detail that is kept under wraps through more or less elaborate practices of secrecy. But what does this convey about the family and its relationship to society or the state? And how might a historical perspective help us better understand the nexus between private and public management of knowledge in contemporary society?

This project examines the connections between the micropolitics of mundane practices and macropolitical change by exploring: 1) how families have handled knowledge about social transgressions or taboos associated with a family member, 2) how public authorities and professionals have encouraged or thwarted secrecy and 3) how family secrecy practices might have affected broader social, political and legal developments, and vice versa. The aim is to enhance our understanding of the role of knowledge management in the power dynamics between individuals, families, society, and the state.

Read more about the project.


Secrecy and Divorce

The Concealment of Mental Maladies

The German Occupation of Denmark

Illegitimate Children and Adoption
Supporting study: Ethical Exposure