By Sally Sales (auth.)
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Additional info for Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian History
First, only children outside of the family setting had their lives open to intervention. The family occupied such an idealised position at the heart of society that its internal functioning was not for public scrutiny. It was anyway assumed that its functioning depended on an inviolable privacy. Social attention first focused on those errant figures outside the family – the immoral unmarried mother and the abandoned or deserted child. The family – even when its members were engaged in abuse or cruelty – was considered beyond public intervention.
For Foucault the concerns sketched out in this brief extract, bad blood, the primacy of sexuality, the irreducibility of childhood origins, the state as pastoral intervention, are the signifiers of new ways that power was operating to shape and form human experience in the Victorian era. This chapter will discuss how these changes not only led to the establishment of adoption in the 1920s, but how these transformations worked to produce adoption as an enduringly paradoxical form of childcare. From sanguinity to sex: the new technology of sexuality During the nineteenth century, you begin to see that sexual behaviour was important for a definition of the individual self ...
The arguments for legislating against birth family involvement were central to the much later debates around birth parent contact in contemporary adoption. This reluctance by legislators to make adoption a full replacement was co- extensive with their resistance to the secrecy and confidentiality through which the early adoption societies wanted to operate their placements. It followed that if the adopted child still ‘belonged’ to its family of origin, then that family should be active participants in his or her adoption, giving an immediate role to practices of disclosure.
Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian History by Sally Sales (auth.)