Mixing Cultural Identities

Mixing Cultural Identities Through Transracial Adoption: Outcomes of the Indian Adoption Project (1958-sdh_frontcover0021967)ISBN10:  0-7734-4885-3   ISBN13:  978-0-7734-4885-8    Pages:  204   Year:  2009   

Series: hors série Number: 0

Subject Areas:  Family Studies, General – Anthropology“, Native American Studies, North America – Anthropology, Social Services & Medicine,

Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press

USA List Price: $139.95 UK List Price: £ 94.95  

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Mixing Cultural Identities Through Transracial Adoption: Outcomes of the Indian Adoption Project (1958-1967) explores the intersection of race, class and history, and its effects on American Indian transracial adoptees’ perceptions of belonging and not belonging.

Child adoption is complicated in and of itself, with issues of blood and relatedness, mixed in with the meaning of family and the rights and privileges thereof.  However, adding race into this construct complicates the issues significantly as history, economics, social value and legislation all work to determine a child’s legitimacy not only within the family, but within the community and the larger society as well.

Using theoretical constructs of ethnic group belonging, social hierarchy and capital acquisition and exchange, as well as social memory, Ms. Harness illustrated the the ways society forced a child to not only perceive themselves, but how they were to be perceived by others.  In order to understand the complexity of the construct Ms. Harness used a mixed methods approach to gather both qualitative and quantitative data.  Word lists supplied  how people categorize people in their own race as well as others, and where adoptees categorize themselves against the ‘other.’  Extended interviews provided rich information of what adoptees felt important for the researcher to know about themselves, their experiences, their lives as they attempted to navigate between ethnic groups.  This insights were then used to create a qualitative survey that would illustrate how pervasive these ideas were among adoptees.

Findings included intense awareness of difference, and awareness of social value, and many times a difficulty returning to their tribal communities and tribal families.

Mixing Cultural Identities Through Transracial Adoption: Outcomes of the Indian Adoption Project (1958-1967) has been published by Edwin Mellen Press.

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