Transnational Adoptions and Life-Trajectories. A biography study of teenage and young adult adoptees living in Austria, England and Sweden.

Elizabeth Baum-Breuer (Standortredaktion Wien)


Nineteen young people with exposed life histories: This paper explores the implications of transnational adoption for the life path and identity development of individuals who were abandoned or placed for adoption at a very young age in far away countries and continents. The study deals with a global theme and touches on the cultural background of thirteen different countries, from Bolivia to Sweden, China to England, India to Austria. In addition, the paper traces the historical development of transnational adoption and sketches a profile on functions and expectations of families and children in the Western world against the background of different welfare systems (Esping-Andersen 1990). A comparison of the three very different adoption scenarios in Austria, England and Sweden reveals controversial considerations, while a further theoretical focus pertains to biography and identity theories relevant for adoptees. This study offers a direct and explorative contribution to research on adoption within a life-span and pedagogical context, employing a phenomenological approach and a triangulation of qualitative methods, an Interpretation of Pictures and Documentary Method (Bohnsack 2008) in combination with a Thematic Content Analysis (Merten 1995, Smith/Harre/Van Langenhove 1995).



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