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The Politics of Adoption: Gender and the Making of French Citizenship$
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Bruno Perreau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027229

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027229.001.0001

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Administering Parenthood

Administering Parenthood

(p.73) 4 Administering Parenthood
The Politics of Adoption: Gender and the Making of French Citizenship

Bruno Perreau

Deke Dusinberre

The MIT Press

Chapter four explores the way child welfare agencies function in France. It shows that social workers, although they play a central role institutionally speaking, are dependent on outside expertise. Such expertise has brought with it the concept of “parenthood,” which has become the be-all and end-all of approval for adoption and the placement of a child. Erected into the status of a principle, the notion of parenthood has allowed social workers to pose as gatekeepers, thereby legitimizing their role in an administrative realm in which they find themselves in a position of weakness, structurally speaking. The second half of the chapter traces the emergence of the notion of parenthood itself, showing how it contributed to the naturalization of gender roles, notably in the media.

Keywords:   Child welfare agencies, Social workers, Psychological expertise, Administrative responsibility, Adoptive parents’ groups, Internet forums, Parenthood, Gender stereotypes, Risk theory

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