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Cruel AttachmentsThe Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany$
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John Borneman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226233888

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226234076.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

New Germans

New Germans

(p.177) Six New Germans
Cruel Attachments

John Borneman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the case of a father falsely accused by his daughters of sex abuse. It explicates what happens when a foreign citizen or (“new German”) family is assimilated into German institutions and life. The father is a Syrian immigrant whose wife had abandoned him recently and returned to Syria, taking with her their younger children but leaving him to raise their three older ones. Once an accusation of child sex abuse is made, the children are removed from their father’s home, and social workers, therapists, and a judge are brought in to begin the ritual process outlined in other chapters. Even after the children recant the charge, the state is obligated to carry through with the ritual process until there is definitive proof that there was no abuse. The chapter queries what Jacques Lacan referred to as “le nom du père” (the name of the father), how children are empowered to question the authority of the father in contemporary Europe. In particular in the families of migrants to Germany, the inheritance of the name of the father often means a distancing from the father in order to enter the symbolic order of desire in Germany.

Keywords:   migrants, fathers, kinship, culture, citizenship, german, le nom du pere, germany, immigration

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