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Seeing through the white gaze : racialised markings of (un)familiar bodies in Swedish transnational adoption policy

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 65-83
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Graduate Journal of Social Science
Volym: 9
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Amsterdam University Press


This paper will explore racialised markings of transnational adoptees and adoptive families in current Swedish transnational adoption policy. Policy statements about transnational adoptees’ physical appearance, and the significance ascribed to it in adoptive family relations and everyday life make up the empirical data. Drawing on critical social policy, postcolonial feminism, critical whiteness studies, and Foucauldian archeology, the paper offers an interdisciplinary reading of the discursive conditions structuring understandings of belonging and difference in this particular context. This paper concludes that the adopted subject is ascribed a natural orientation towards the birth country and the biological family in the documents. Dark skin colour is made a symbol of belonging to another nation, another family. This approach is an arrogation of destabilisation, with the purpose of challenging the ways in which transnational adopted bodies are constructed as revealing and disturbing elements in white Swedish imaginary. To conclude, racialised markings of transnational adoptees as familiar, but yet unfamiliar bodies make visible the symbolic boundaries withholding transnational adoptees unconditional national and familial belonging.


  • Gender Studies
  • transnational adoption
  • discourse
  • whiteness
  • social policy
  • racialisation
  • belonging
  • difference
  • Sweden


  • ISSN: 1572-3763

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