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Crying for Our EldersAfrican Orphanhood in the Age of HIV and AIDS$
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Kristen E. Cheney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226437408

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226437682.001.0001

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Orphanhood and the Transformation of Kinship, Fosterage, and Children’s Circulation Strategies

Orphanhood and the Transformation of Kinship, Fosterage, and Children’s Circulation Strategies

(p.131) 7 Orphanhood and the Transformation of Kinship, Fosterage, and Children’s Circulation Strategies
Crying for Our Elders

Kristen E. Cheney

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the way AIDS orphanhood has influenced child circulation and kin construction in Uganda. While many studies have documented the effects of AIDS on orphans and vulnerable children’s circulation in Africa, few studies have critically examined the effects of AIDS on constructions of kinship, and particularly its symbolic repertoire amidst its everyday significance as a bodily substance. While ‘blood’ in the African context has gained notoriety in the age of HIV/AIDS as a substance that carries pathogens such as HIV, it has also gained significance as a substance that immutably binds children orphaned by those pathogens to their extended kin, on whom they rely for care. This chapter therefore traces the sometimes-contradictory social, economic, and emotional effects of children’s circulation within and across family networks, highlighting orphaned children’s concerns with identity and intra-family mobility. Doing so demonstrates how orphan care in the age of HIV/AIDS is consequently transforming both fosterage practices and kin obligation, jeopardizing children’s well-being and their ability to identify with the ‘blood ties’ that still form powerful tropes of relatedness for orphaned children.

Keywords:   blood, child circulation, child fosterage, grandmothers, HIV, home, identity, intergenerational care arrangements, kinship, orphans, AIDS

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