Document Type

Honors Project


How is culture protected in transnational and transracial adoption? Through the examination of international, national and local laws and policies, I look at how culture is at once a global, national, racial, and individual attribute and at what aspects of these varying definitions of culture are deemed so important by adoption authorities that they are protected through policy. A content analysis of international conventions, the policies of China, Russia, Guatemala, and Native American tribes as sending countries, and the procedures of adoption agencies shows how global ideas of culture are reinterpreted to have specific meanings. I found that international laws use global ideas of culture to protect the cultural identity of individual children, national laws protect national cultural ideals, and the local adoption agencies protect nationalized, racialized, or individualized aspects of culture. This analysis also shows how using these varying aspects of culture when trying to protect children’s culture can generalize ideas of culture and exclude protection of subcultures that a child may belong to within these national or racial categories. How adoption authorities include cultural provisions in policy show what aspects of culture are valued enough to protect and can in turn show how children are viewed. The different laws protect and give meaning to children as individuals, members of families, and representatives of nations and races.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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