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The intimate world of strangers: embodying the child in foster care

Rees, Alyson ORCID: and Pithouse, Andrew Joseph ORCID: 2008. The intimate world of strangers: embodying the child in foster care. Child & Family Social Work 13 (3) , pp. 338-347. 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00558.x

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In this paper we look at fostering with particular regard to embodiment and the body, the boundaries around it and related aspects of intimacy in foster home settings. Based upon mixed qualitative methods comprising mainly audiotaped interviews and audiotaped diaries it was possible to document and analyse key activities, meanings and relationships that inform the private world of foster care. In doing so, the paper looks first at sociological notions of the body, we then deploy these conceptual tools in regard to a sequence of seemingly mundane yet profoundly important day-to-day encounters between the fostered child and the private lives of the foster family. The notion of fostering as the coming together of strangers in which all parties have to learn the often tacit and emergent rules of intimacy within a family setting is depicted here in regard to aspects of joint habitation and boundary regarding the body. Themes around physical care, nurturing, space and privacy, touch and cleanliness are explored in order to reveal more of the private encounters that construct the embodied world of fostering.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Uncontrolled Keywords: body; embodiment; foster families; foster homes; intimacy; touch
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1356-7500
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:51

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