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Origin Narratives for/about Children from ‘Ethnic’ Backgrounds. Discourses of immigration and international adoption in recent children’s books

— Dra. Macarena García González (Chile), tesis doctoral y libro

Summary.. Children grow up in increasingly diverse societies, yet differences between people still lead to a long list of questions that parents and teachers are often unsure how to answer. Culture, identity and intercultural communication are today discussed as part of education policy around the world. Interestingly, the increasing diversity in school classrooms not only responds to migration and people’s growing mobility but also to new forms of family reproduction, among which international adoption of children is the most visible. This project inquires into the ways these questions get narratively ‘answered’ reproducing certain discourses on ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’.

The research project “Origin Narratives for/about Children from Different ‘Ethnic’ Backgrounds, Discourses on immigration and international adoption in recent children’s literature” explores children’s books recommended to teachers and parents to explicate migration, international adoption, ‘race’, racism, social integration and interculturalism.

In recent decades, a growing number of children's books dealing with the politics of equality have been published, yet we still find scarce research done on them. This is a project which draws upon recent research on narratology and narrative theory, as well as upon different theoretical frameworks on the representation of difference (Intersectionality, Postcolonial theory, Imagology, Critical Race Theory) to shed light over the ideological underpinnings of recommended books. The research is also fueled by anthropological and sociological perspectives on (European) discourses on international adoption of children and immigration, and it attempts to enlarge the research on contingent social phenomena from humanities perspectives. Methodologically, it also contributes to the emerging scholarship on picturebooks —and multimodal construction of meaning— through a close reading of the interplay of image and words in the reproduction or resistance to stereotypes.

| universität zürich


Macarena García González, Dr. des.

ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft

Research Interests
- Identities, Diversities, Transnational Adoption, Transnational Families, Migration.
- Narrative Analysis, Intersectionality, Visual Studies, Critical Theory, Narrative and Cognition.
- Children’s Literature and Media, Picturebooks.
- Cultural Construction of the Childhood, (Critical) Pedagogies.






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