Names in adoption law and policy: representations of family, rights and identities

Pilcher, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-1864-1362 and Coffey, A., 2022. Names in adoption law and policy: representations of family, rights and identities. Families, Relationships and Societies. ISSN 2046-7435

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Names have heightened importance in adoption, affecting the identities of individuals who are adopted and adoptive family-making. In this article, we use critical discourse analysis to gauge how names, and especially children’s forenames, are addressed in the specificities of legal and policy texts governing and guiding the milieu of people affected by adoption in England. We argue that the inclusions, omissions, and opacity of content on names we uncover are outcomes of underlying representations of ‘family’ within the texts, whereby ‘family surnaming’ is constructed as the pre-eminent naming issue in adoption, above children’s forename-based identity rights. Our focus on names in adoption advances sociological understandings of the power of names in representing family relationships and individual identities, and of how official discourses of law and policy can privilege some types of relationships over others, and the rights of some family members over others.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Names in adoption law and policy
Publication Title: Families, Relationships and Societies
Creators: Pilcher, J. and Coffey, A.
Publisher: Policy Press
Date: 11 November 2022
ISSN: 2046-7435
Rights: © Policy Press 2022.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 23 Nov 2022 10:51
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2023 03:00

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