Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Ruptured relatedness and the lack of family memory: former British child migrants' reflections on fragmented kin relations  
Katja Uusihakala (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on kinning and de-kinning in the lives of British child migrants removed from their families and resettled in colonial Rhodesia. Set in a context of a political human experiment, the paper analyzes the temporal unfolding, dissolution, and reshaping of kin relations over time.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the processes of kinning and de-kinning from the perspective advocated by Janet Carsten (2013), namely that anthropologists should pay attention to the temporality and ambivalence of kinship - its "thickening" and "thinning" over time. The case I analyze concerns British child migrants (aged 5-13) who were selected into a migration scheme during 1946-1962 and permanently resettled in colonial Rhodesia, where they were placed into a boarding school/children's home. The scheme explicitly combined physical and social mobility: removed from their families and resettled in an institution, the children were expected, through first-class education, to rise to privileged positions, thus maintaining the racially segregated colonial hierarchy. Building on ethnographic research with former child migrants, the paper addresses the processes of kinship in a situation where family and kin relations are ruptured or altogether lost, and where the children grow up with very limited or fragile family memory. In such lives, I suggest, both kinship and memory become significant in their absence. While Fonseca (2011) analyzes the de-kinning of adoptive birth-mothers institutionally written out of their children's lives, my analysis focuses on de-kinning from the perspective of child migrants, from whose lives their parents gradually become further and further removed. Considering the temporal unfolding of the parent-child relationship and the thinning (and occasional reconciliation) of relatedness in a context of a colonial, political human experiment, the paper takes part in such examinations of kinship, where the emphasis is on its ambivalence, dissolution and reshaping over time.

Panel P036
Kinning and de-kinning: kinship practices between "parental figures", "reproductive collaborators" and children among new family configurations
  Session 1