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Photographs of "Waiting Children": THE TRANSNATIONAL ADOPTION MARKET

Photographs of "Waiting Children": THE TRANSNATIONAL ADOPTION MARKET Lisa Cartwright fication relative to client perceptions of a child’s cultural identity and health. First, I consider how child images are categorized by agencies in brochures and computer data banks, to demonstrate how visual classification gives shape to children’s histories, identities, and futures relative to race, ethnicity, health, and ability. Second, I discuss the special needs classification and the problem of discerning medical or developmental information from pictures. Screening and diagnosis of children at a distance is a challenge: the child’s body cannot be accessed, and language and cultural differences make interpreting records difficult. Interpreting casual portraits for medical information has become a common practice in transnational adoption. My specific example is the screening of child portraits for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This medical technique is beset, I will argue, with the historical problem of pathologizing signifiers of cultural difference. I will consider some problems in the analysis of “racially mixed” and “Asian” faces. Accommodating for racial or ethnic differences in the establishment of bodily norms, or discriminating between visual markers that are believed to signify identity and those that are believed to indicate pathology, are the impossible tasks of FAS image analysis.4 I should be clear about http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

Photographs of "Waiting Children": THE TRANSNATIONAL ADOPTION MARKET

Social Text , Volume 21 (1 74) – Mar 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-21-1_74-83
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Lisa Cartwright fication relative to client perceptions of a child’s cultural identity and health. First, I consider how child images are categorized by agencies in brochures and computer data banks, to demonstrate how visual classification gives shape to children’s histories, identities, and futures relative to race, ethnicity, health, and ability. Second, I discuss the special needs classification and the problem of discerning medical or developmental information from pictures. Screening and diagnosis of children at a distance is a challenge: the child’s body cannot be accessed, and language and cultural differences make interpreting records difficult. Interpreting casual portraits for medical information has become a common practice in transnational adoption. My specific example is the screening of child portraits for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This medical technique is beset, I will argue, with the historical problem of pathologizing signifiers of cultural difference. I will consider some problems in the analysis of “racially mixed” and “Asian” faces. Accommodating for racial or ethnic differences in the establishment of bodily norms, or discriminating between visual markers that are believed to signify identity and those that are believed to indicate pathology, are the impossible tasks of FAS image analysis.4 I should be clear about

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2003

There are no references for this article.