Cultivating feral proliferations: anthropological considerations on child protection policies

Claudia Fonseca About the author

Abstract

In the following reflection on child adoption policies, we seek to establish a bridge between, on the one hand, ethnographic episodes - dense and contextually situated - and, on the other hand, comprehensive systems with large-scale and far-reaching consequences. To carry out this endeavour we analyze the administrative, statistical and bureaucratic infrastructures connecting political philosophies of the moment to the attitudes and actions of the various actors (professionals, servants and users) under observation. This approach allows us to trace throughout the past few decades of technological instruments - in particular, statistics, registries and forms -, designed to stabilize certain adoption policies. At the same time, we pay close attention to “proliferations” (Tsing; Mathews; Bubandt, 2019TSING, A. L.; MATHEWS, A.; BUBANDT, N. Patchy Anthropocene: landscape structure, multispecies history, and the retooling of anthropology. Current Anthropology, [s. l.], v. 60, supl. 20, p. S186-S197, Aug. 2019.) - product and producer of tensions in the system itself - that conduct matters in unexpected directions. In appreciating these events that almost always start on a limited scale and with uncertain consequences, our intention is to enhance the power of these examples to nurture a certain hope - deeply pragmatic, epistemologically ambivalent and subarticulated - in yet unfathomed possibilities.

Keywords:
anthropology of infrastructure; technologies of government; public policies; child adoption

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