Figuring the transnational ‘Child-to-be-adopted’: The web as a virtual sociocultural contact zone for intercountry adoption

Paul McIlvenny, Pirkko Raudaskoski

Abstract



This paper presents our research which is part of a larger project that explores how to track and understand the linguistic, discursive and sociocultural contact zones or networks brought about by intercountry adoption. Using mediated discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, membership categorisation analysis and interaction analysis, the project attempts to trace a host of discourses and contingent practices of care and kinship that are heterogeneously assembled to ‘translate’ a child (legally and/or willingly) from one familial ‘place’ or network in the world to another, crossing linguistic, sociocultural, racial, class and national boundaries in the process. We introduce in this paper our first observations of the discursive construction of the ‘child-to-be-adopted’ in the pre-adoption stage. We focus on the crucial role of the ‘intimate public sphere’ of the Internet from the parents’ point-of-view, specifically their personal web pages and online diaries that anticipate the ‘transnational’ mobility of the ‘waiting’ or abandoned child in a faraway place.

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