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Market Forces: Defining the Adoptable Child, 1860–1940

  • Shurlee Swain (a1)

Abstract

Discomfort about the notion of adoption as facilitating a market in children has been one of the major motivations for regulation and control, not only for intercountry adoption but throughout the history of in country adoption as well. This paper explores the nature of the market in Australia, beginning in the decades before legalisation but looking also for continuities in the ways in which in country and later intercountry adoptions have been debated. Drawing on an analysis of advertisements from major metropolitan and regional newspapers it argues that benevolence always exists in an uneasy alliance with assumptions about the right to a child, creating a ‘shopping list’ of desired characteristics which the market has rarely been able to satisfy.

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Market Forces: Defining the Adoptable Child, 1860–1940

  • Shurlee Swain (a1)

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