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A psycho-social exploration of trans-racial adoptive subjectivity

Love, Cecilia 2015. A psycho-social exploration of trans-racial adoptive subjectivity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to convey a psycho-social and experiential understanding of the lived experience of trans-racial adoption. As a woman that was adopted as a baby from Malaysia by Caucasian parents during the 1970s, the personal experience of the phenomenon of trans-racial adoption has been integral to the theoretical foundations and overall research approach of this study. The primary aim of this study has been one that has sought to deepen understanding of the affective dimensions involved in being a trans-racially adoptive family member from both the perspective of the adoptive mother and the adoptee. The concept of trans-racial adoptive subjectivity is informed by phenomenological and psychoanalytic thinking and assumes an embodied subject that is embedded in a relational and material world. The analytical focus therefore prioritises understanding the historical, social and political processes that engage the body in particular ways that we can understand as being trans-racially adopted. The research framework assumes a psycho-social methodological framework that has prioritised depth of understanding experience. Six sets of trans-racially adopted adults and their adoptive mothers were engaged where each family members was interviewed over a period of six months, four times each. Influenced by the relational psychoanalytic tradition, the notion of inter-subjectivity was central to the methodological process. The research interview encounters therefore assumed a two person psychology where the feelings I experienced as the researcher were considered as important forms of research data. An inter-subjective dialogue enabled the method to go beyond purely the discursive and recognise the complex layers of unconscious forms of defence that are understood as being the multi-dimensions of experience. The empirical chapters have been presented in three separate analytical chapters entitled: Race, Class and Loss. In theorising an embodied subject, I have emphasised in this interpretation of trans-racial adoptive experience the inter-connection between these three analytical categories. That whilst presented as separate categories, the presentation of the experience in each empirical chapter has aimed to demonstrate the fluidity involved in the process of being trans-racially adopted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:54
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/71632

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