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Feminist Global Motherhood: Representations of Single-Mother Adoption in Swedish Media
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
2016 (English)In: Critical Kinship Studies / [ed] C. Kroløkke et al., London: Rowman & Littlefield International , 2016Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Single mother adoptions form an influential discourse on transnationl adoption in  contemporary swedish media that this chapter sets out to eplore. What particular understandings of adoption does it construct, and what ideological work does it perform? Drawing on the concept of Global motherhood (Raka Shome 2011) I study how adoption articulates with idealized notions of feminity and whiteness.

The investigation departs in the aftermath of the major debate on adoption that took place in the early 2000’s, to the present, including a film (Bombay Dreams 2004), a documentary (Min dotter från Kina, 2005), a publicity campaign (Nolltolerans mot rasism, 2010) and print media coverage of the adoption of celebrity Carola in 2012. Bringing together these different kinds of media formats illustrate how a number of recurrent themes central to this understanding of adoption appear across a range of texts.

Two major discursive strategies are identified: victimisation and moralisation. Single adoptive mothers constitute a complex figure, both privileged (in relation to class and race) and marginalised (in relation to norms regarding family and kinship). However, these representations tend to place these women rather squarely among the latter. Victimisation allows for an understanding of adoption as a feminist question concerning the rights of single women to parenthood. Adoption by single mothers thus becomes a manifestation of Sweden as a feminist nation, in the same way that representations of male same sex couples turning to surrogacy serves as a manifestation of Sweden as an LGBT friendly nation. But adoption is also understod in terms of moral entitlement. Motherhood is presented as a question of moral skill rather than structural privilege. 

This positioning as both victim and champion comes through as a specifically Swedish strategy for managing the global distribution of privilege and inequality that premise transnational adoption. In this process, white feminity is made the ideal manifestation of Swedish exceptionalism (Keskinen et al 2009).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Rowman & Littlefield International , 2016.
Series
, Rowman and Littlefield International – Intersections
Keyword [en]
Single-Mother Adoption, White Femininity, Swedish Anti-racism, Global Motherhood, Media Representations
National Category
Humanities Social Sciences
Research subject
Gender Studies; Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129348ISBN: HB 978-1-7834-8416-4ISBN: PB 978-1-7834-8417-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129348DiVA: diva2:921775
Projects
Mediating Global Motherhood. Gender, Race and Sexuality in Swedish Media Representations of Transnational Surrogacy and Transnational Adoption
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2016-04-21

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