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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 Politics of Adoption in Uganda

Orphanhood and the Politics of Adoption in Uganda

(p.156) 8 Orphanhood and the Politics of Adoption in Uganda
Crying for Our Elders

Kristen E. Cheney

University of Chicago Press

Despite a proliferation of orphans due to the AIDS pandemic, few African countries until recently have encouraged adoption—domestic or international—as a response. Though AIDS infection rates peaked in Uganda in the early 1990s, the government resisted intercountry adoption in favor of strengthen family- and community-based responses to the ‘orphan crisis’. This chapter returns to the broader national and international context to consider how ‘blood’ as a metaphor of relatedness has prevented domestic adoption from playing a greater role in responses to orphanhood. At the same time, intercountry adoption as a globalized mode of reproduction fixed its focus on Uganda, thus challenging Ugandan blood binds—the moral and political economies—of orphan care. Recent debates have yielded a quagmire of tensions and contradictions surrounding Ugandan attitudes about adoption. This chapter therefore considers what these paradoxes reveal about kinship, cultural politics, and orphan belonging. Borrowing Fassin’s notion of moral economy, the chapter considers how kinship—biological and social—enters debates about the political economy of adoption as a mode of social reproduction and how the broader moral and political economies of intercountry adoption are confronting the moral economy of kinship and belonging within Uganda.

Keywords:   adoption, alternative care, belonging, child protection, moral economy, orphan crisis, orphan industrial complex, orphan rescue, political economy, social reproduction

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