New Dissertation: Contested Adoption: The Social Engineering of Families (Negotiating stigma and social exclusion)

Thanks to FASSIT News, here’s the announcement of a victim supporter who turned the forced adoption phenomenon into a PhD.

Contested Adoption: The Social Engineering of Families (Negotiating stigma and social exclusion) (Full Dissertation – PDF 237KB)

May 2012

By ADELE AMI SANDERS

A Dissertation

Presented to The University of Salford in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of BSc (Hons) in Sociology

Introduction

Adoption, where children are legally and irrevocably transferred from one family to another is generally viewed as a positively beneficial societal function, providing a family life for children who cannot live with their own biological parents, improving their social, behavioural, educational, and employment outcomes relative to the alternative of long-term foster care. It also provides children for childless couples and helps birth parents who feel, or are deemed unable to parent their children (Triseliotis
2002).

However, this dissertation will consider legally sanctioned ‘forced or contested adoption’ where birth parents completely disapprove of the adoption, and often contest, or oppose it in court, but their approval is lawfully dispensed with as their children are compulsorily adopted most often to strangers (Ryburn, 1997). The topic was chosen as I helped found an internet family support group in 2005 for people experiencing adoption and similar issues. This generated an awareness of the experiences and rising number of birth parents and grandparents whose children and grandchildren were being forcibly adopted. I feel this invites sociological investigation, and leads one to ask whether the State is actually socially engineering families through adoption as a form of social control to construct more compliant,
socially acceptable families? However, it must also be recognised that children have a fundamental human right to be immune and protected from abuse and ill-treatment, and are legally protected by domestic and international laws. Therefore in certain extreme cases of genuine neglect and abuse, adoption serves as a necessary way of liberating children from harm, helping and supporting them to fulfil a stable family life (Pardeck, 2006).

Chapter One provides a historical context of adoption, and considers how and why adoption has increasingly been used as a permanency option for children in care (Ball, 2005). This is followed by a brief historical contextual summary of key adoption legislation and past/current political positions. Chapter Two consists of a detailed literature review, with analysis from a critical realist epistemological perspective. This will examine grand theories such as Donzelot’s (1979) ‘Tutelary complex’, Weber’s (1991) theories on ‘Rationalization’ and Foucault’s (1997b) concept of ‘Governmentality’, in relation to contested adoption. Consideration of feminist literature will follow highlighting how patriarchal social and legal constructions of motherhood disempower, control and marginalise birth mothers. Subsequent to this will be an analysis of the interactionist theories of Goffman (1968) regarding social stigma and its relation to forced adoption. Lastly there will be a critique of empirical studies and literature, exploring the impact of contested adoption on birth mothers, and their subjective experiences of this.

Contested Adoption: The Social Engineering of Families (Negotiating stigma and social exclusion) (Full Dissertation – PDF 237KB)

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About Sabine Kurjo McNeill

I'm a mathematician and system analyst formerly at CERN in Geneva and became an event organiser, software designer, independent web publisher and online promoter of Open Justice. My most significant scientific contribution is www.smartknowledge.space
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4 Responses to New Dissertation: Contested Adoption: The Social Engineering of Families (Negotiating stigma and social exclusion)

  1. Pingback: In nutshell: No Punishment without Crime – from the Publisher of “Forced Adoption” « Punishment without Crime

  2. Pingback: In nutshell: No Punishment without Crime – from the Publisher of “Forced Adoption” « Punishment without Crime

  3. Pingback: The Musas « Rote Mutter ~ Red Mother

  4. Pingback: New Dissertation: Contested Adoption: The Social Engineering of Families (Negotiating stigma and social exclusion) | kelvinlawrencelord

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