Indignation and Intelligibility: Contradictions that Place Vulnerable Populations ‘Off the Grid’

Authors

  • Susan Bibler Coutin University of California, Irvine
  • Barbara Yngvesson Hampshire College

Keywords:

Immigration, adoption, deportation, children, inequality, Inmigración, adopción, deportación, niños, desigualdad

Abstract

Our paper draws on our ethnographic work regarding transnational adoption, unauthorized immigration, and deportation in order to examine the grids of intelligibility that produce adoptability and deportability. Adoptable babies, unauthorized migrants, and deportable aliens are, in some sense “off the grid” in that aspects of their pasts took place elsewhere, or are unknown or sealed, thus enabling them to be excluded or removed from particular polities. Such individuals appear to move – between statuses, territories, and states of being. At the same time, the very possibility of such movements, indeed, of alienability, unsettles the very grids of kinship, property, nationality, and belonging on which exclusions and removals are based. Adoption, migration, and deportation are therefore processes that disturb and fascinate, as evidenced by the numerous news articles about adoptees who return to discover their “roots,” or the hardships and successes of migrants. These stories are not only about the individuals involved but also the nations and assumptions about national “essences” that make it possible to “locate” persons. Our analysis seeks to interrogate these assumptions, while providing alternatives to the grids of deservingness and ideas about a child’s “best interest” that underpin immigration policy and adoption law.

Este artículo muestra el trabajo etnográfico realizado sobre la adopción transnacional, la inmigración no autorizada, y la deportación, para examinar las redes de inteligibilidad que fomentan la adopción y deportación. Bebés adoptables, inmigrantes no autorizados, y extranjeros deportables están, en cierto sentido "fuera de juego", ya que su pasado se desarrolló en otros lugares, es desconocido o inaccesible, lo que favorece que sean excluidos o eliminados de políticas particulares. Parece que estas personas se mueven entre status, territorios y estados del ser. Al mismo tiempo, la posibilidad de tales movimientos, esto es, de extranjería, perturba las redes de parentesco, propiedad, nacionalidad y pertenencia en que se basan las exclusiones. Adopción, inmigración y deportación son por lo tanto, procesos que perturban y a la vez fascinan, como lo demuestran los numerosos artículos de prensa acerca de adoptados que vuelven a descubrir sus "raíces", o las dificultades y los éxitos de los inmigrantes. Estas historias no están relacionadas únicamente con las personas involucradas, sino también con las naciones y las asunciones sobre las "esencias" nacionales que permiten "localizar" personas. Este análisis busca cuestionar estos supuestos, al tiempo que proporciona alternativas a las redes de merecimiento e ideas sobre el "interés superior" del niño en que se basa la política de inmigración y la ley de adopción.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2564567

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.
Views 94
Downloads:
PDF 97


Author Biographies

Susan Bibler Coutin, University of California, Irvine

Susan Bibler Coutin, Professor of Criminology, Law & Society and Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine received her PhD from Stanford University. She is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the UC Irvine Graduate Division, and was founding director of the UCI Center in Law, Society and Culture. UC Irvine. School of Social Ecology. 5300 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway. Irvine, CA 92697-7050. United States. scoutin@uci.edu

Barbara Yngvesson, Hampshire College

Barbara Yngvesson, professor emerita of anthropology, received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She is former Dean of the School of Social Science at Hampshire College, and founding director of the interdisciplinary Program in Culture, Brain, and Development there. Hampshire College. 893 West Street. Amherst, MA 01002. United States. byngvesson@hampshire.edu

Downloads

Published

02-06-2014

How to Cite

Coutin, S. B. and Yngvesson, B. (2014) “Indignation and Intelligibility: Contradictions that Place Vulnerable Populations ‘Off the Grid’”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 5(1), pp. 90–113. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/415 (Accessed: 23 February 2024).