“Someone Who Looks Like Me”. Search for Origin and Adoptive Kinship in Italy

Rossana DiSilvio


The origins’ issue seems to be at the core of the identity construction of adopted children. This viewpoint is sustained by many social studies and has been recently highlighted by the ethnographic investigation carried out with the adoptees’ associations active in the public arena of the so-called ‘receiving’ Western countries. The disciplines involved in the establishment and management of the adoptive kinning, mainly the ‘psy’ sciences, seem to be oriented to use preventing-repairing techniques, which alert especially the adoptive parents (but also the school) to the destabilizing effects of this kind of ‘fracture’, so emotionally difficult to understand and justify since it founds the identity and belonging of a person. By using an ethno-anthropological glance, my contribution aims at introducing a reflection on how the ‘claim’ to know the origins is an intrinsic aspect of the Western adoptive device, through a discussion - in a cultural sense – on the dimensions of the incompleteness of belonging and on their construction starting from the nature-culture dichotomy, with particular reference to the domestic domain and kinship ties. In this framework, the identity re-composition pursued by the adoptees seems to spring from a ‘poietic’ tension pushed by an aspiration to completeness, longed-for but never fully achieved. However, this condition of identity fragmentation also seems to guide the adoptees to creatively produce themselves as subjects having multiple belongings but being internally coherent, thus giving new shapes to the cultural meaning of ‘being kin’ and of ‘being-in-the-kinship’.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n14p755

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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