Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian by Sally Sales (auth.)

By Sally Sales (auth.)

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Extra info for Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian History

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Could adoption prevent the transmission of bad blood to the child or is the child’s history an irreducible and persistent presence defying adoption’s substitutive power? There was a sense that the family of origin should remain responsible for the child and that 40 Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins this responsibility should not be severed lightly. One can begin to see here an emergent paradoxical relationship to the family of origin; their bad blood line was to be interrupted and substituted by adoption, but the substitution would only ever be partial and incomplete.

Children were defined as ‘preliminary’ sexual beings, on this side of sex, yet within it, astride a dangerous dividing line. Parents, families, educators, doctors and eventually psychologists would have to take charge, in a continuous way, of this precious and perilous, dangerous and endangered sexual potential. Here Foucault captures very well two narratives of childhood produced during this era. There was the child as innocence, the not yet sexual subject, and there was the child as sexually knowing, anticipating the Emergence of Adoption 33 sexual potential of its adult future.

As Chapter 2 discussed, the emergent middle classes secured their line of descent through preserving a healthy blood line achieved by knowledge about its origins. The adoption of an illegitimate child would install both ‘bad blood’ and an uncertain or unknown genealogy into middle- class family life. , p. 63) sees these concerns not operating in working- class cultures, making adoption of illegitimate children possible for those communities.

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