Making families. Parenting and belonging in transnational adoption in Flanders

Start - End 
2008 - 2012 (completed)
Department of Languages and Cultures
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Methodology 



This study describes the construction of ‘adoption cultures’ in Flanders with respect to Ethiopian children. These social worlds negotiate between the parenting projects of adoption families and the popular and professional ‘cultures of difference’ in which they get caught up.

The empirical focus of this project is on the casual gatherings of adoptive parents as well as on (real life or on-line) meetings organized by adoption agencies or adoptive parents’ organizations in which the provenance of the child forms the main theme. The study explores by means of ethnographic research methods how and to what extent adoptive parents reinscribe the genetic descent of their child into its cultural and national identity and investigates the role of these events and networks therein.

The broader framework of this study is a rapidly globalizing postcolonial world of ‘flow and closure’ in which ideas of assimilation have been increasingly challenged by converse ways of dealing with ‘the other’. This study aspires to show the ambiguities in the way migration, assimilation, multiculturality and cosmopolitism are signified and dramatized in ‘adoption cultures’.



Phd Student(s)