Contested adoption narratives in a Swedish setting
2006 (English)In: 2nd International Conference on Adoption Research, 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
With 50,000 adoptees from 100 different countries, Sweden has adopted the most in the world in relation to its native population. Moreover, with a history of international adoption going back to Jewish children from Central Europe in the 1930s and Finnish children during WWII, Sweden also pioneered the practice itself. This demographic and historical background plays an important role in upholding Sweden's image in the international community as the most left-liberal and progressive country in the world. Consequently, international adoption has not been a controversial issue in Sweden like in the US or in the UK. Steeped in an antiracist ideology, international adoption is in the public imaginary represented as an act of solidarity, the adopted children as bridges between cultures and the adoptive parents as child rescuers. However, from the mid-1990s the adoptees themselves have started to be heard for the first time in the form of memoir works, and recently adoptive parents have also written autobiographies. This paper examines this recent explosion in adoption texts written by adult adoptees and adoptive parents. The paper looks at how these self-narratives challenge as well as reproduce hegemonic Swedish images of international adoption, and the differences and similarities between the autobiographies written by the two adoption triad groups. The paper argues that international adoption is nowadays a contested practice in Sweden, and that a discursive struggle is being waged both over how to write the Swedish history of international adoption and how to understand Sweden as the world's leading adopting country.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
international adoptees, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22332OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-22332DiVA: diva2:188859