Til bevillingsoversigt

The Parameters of Terror: The Copenhagen Shootings and the Renegotiations of Danish Cultural Codes in the Civil Sphere, 2015-2020

Carlsberg Foundation Reintegration Fellowships


This project explores how the 2015 shootings/terror attacks in Copenhagen initiated negotiations of some of the core values underpinning the Danish civil sphere, including those upholding boundaries of in/exclusion. The research will provide new insights into how the Danish civil sphere has coped with terrorism and renegotiated the boundaries of solidarity between majority and minority citizens following the attacks. It focuses on the Danish Jews' roles and experiences of these events, as this minority group has had a fundamental role in shaping and defining the ethno-religious minority space in the Danish civil sphere since the formation of the modern Danish nation state.


Despite the enormous national and global media coverage of the 2015 Copenhagen shootings and the immediate effects it had on Danish legislation and security polices, the events have been largely untheorized from a civil society perspective. We do not know how the attacks have affected the structure of Danish core values and how this, in turn, have influenced the civic space for Danish minority citizens. As terror aims at destabilizing social and moral order, the project contends, that is essential to study how the civil sphere responds and recuperates from such attacks and especially how minority citizens are affected in these processes.


This project applies a multilevel framework undergirded by participant fieldwork. I will map and analyze how Jewish differences were renegotiated and organized following the terror attack first at a discursive level, which include communicative and legislative institutions, and then at a spatial and embodied level. Informed by practice-based and affective ethnography, I will follow in the footsteps of the assemblage of "Danish Jewish citizenship" as it is enacted, reacted upon, communicated, legislated, and felt in and around the Synagogue of Copenhagen from 2015 to 2020.


Terror attacks have hit most European countries in the last few years, including Denmark. However, we still know very little about the ramifications that terror have on the civic order and how it influences cultural norms, especially related to majority-minority relations. To safeguard the pluralistic and democratic foundation of the Danish nation-state, it is thus crucial to study terrorism's effects on the civil sphere.