JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.. This article analyzes decisions by women in urban squatter settlements in Brazil to place children with the statejuvenile authorities, FEBEM. Although forms of"voluntary"fosterage do exist, mostplacements occur under "crisis conditions"--when the child's home has been ruptured by death, divorce or remarriage. In these conditions, the interaction of specific economic and cultural factors points to the dissolution of the mother-child unit as a satisfactory survival strategy. FEBEM is but one possible foster "parent"' along with relatives and acquaintances. A woman's choice between alternatives depends on her previous experience with FEBEM, her child's age, the availability offoster households in her personal universe, and the urgency of her need In dealing with FEBEM, the mother, applying the same policy she uses with otherfosterparents, tries to retain full parentalprerogatives while getting rid of the brunt ofchild-rearing responsibilities. Failure to recognize the economic and cultural context in which women make the decision to institutionalize a child leads FEBEM officials to view their demands as a morally reprehensible abuse of government assistance.
Based on two years' field work among poverty-stricken urban squatters in PortoAlegre, Brazil, this article analyzes the context and attitudes surrounding women's decisions to place their children with the state juvenile authorities, Fundacdo Estadual para o Bem-Estar do Menor (FEBEM). The women in question, do not act from ignorance, nor from a lagging "traditional" mentality ill-fitted to their needs in a modern industrialized society. Rather, they act in a manner coherent with a patterned sequence of life events and well-adapted to the actors' culturally-defined needs.
This paper, centered on adoption policy in Brazil, asks to what extent the open–ended principles apparent in international child rights accords, filtered down through different national laws, adjust to local realities. Ethnographic data on child circulation practices in urban favelas is compared with specific clauses in the 1990 Brazilian Children’s Code, as well as with adoption policies in North America, to question the code’s way of legislating which children can be placed for adoption, on what terms they should be placed, and who has the power to place them.
Bringing together different strands of social analysis - the work on violence and subjectivity, legal anthropology and studies on kinship practices -, I propose in this article to treat a woman's giving away her child as a form of social suffering. Rather than focusing on the more spectacular phenomenon of "traffic" and "abduction" of children, I approach the "everyday violence" in adoption practices. In particular, I propose to demonstrate how legal plenary adoption emerges as a form of state-organized bureaucratic violence that "further burdens experience". Following this line of reasoning, I investigate the "de-kinning" of birthmothers, i.e., the institutionalized effort that goes into undoing the naturalized category of biological motherhood. However, my major question, treated in the second half of this text, will be: how is this process experienced by those most involved? Altogether, my purpose here is to follow through on situations in which the analysis of discourse and practice reveal the ambivalences of social experience, introducing new elements into policy debates, and enlarging on the creative possibilities of kinship's "plasticity".
During the 1990s there was a dramatic fall in intercountry adoptions of Brazilian children — from over 2,000 per annum at the beginning of the decade to under 400 at the decade's close. On the basis of documentary material, Claudia Fonseca outlines possible reasons for this drop, considering hypotheses linked to the international market of adoptable children, legal restrictions on intercountry adoption imposed by the Brazilian government, and, finally, scandals in the mass media which stigmatise local intermediaries and officials involved in this activity.
Purpose -To consider transnational aspects linked to the social production of adoptable children in a Brazilian setting. Design/methodology/approach -Looks at legislation and media reports, giving particular attention to how, during the 1990s, vigorous campaigns in favor of plenary adoption by Brazilian nationals implied the near-total silencing of alternative forms of childcare such as foster care, and how recent circumstances are reversing this trend. Findings -Argues that an apparently straightforward conflict between poverty-stricken families and the state authorities that strip them of parental rights is in fact a highly political issue involving innumerous overseas as well as national influences. National childcare policies that encourage certain childcare options and eliminate others emerge as much from scandals in the media, "consumer demands" by adoptive parents, and philanthropic support as from the more apparent global trends in child welfare legislation.Research limitations/implications -The findings challenge the view that childcare is a consensual issue with all fronts working for the "child's best interest". Rather, in this paper, the issue is revealed as a political matter of conflicting interests between unequal categories of caretakers. Practical implications -This paper has direct relevance for international legislation on child adoption policy. Originality/value -This paper furnishes a "view from below" on international adoption, putting in question principles that are normally accepted as obvious in international legislation on child rights.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.