This article explores the role of transnational adoption in the production of a multicultural but Swedish national body during the second half of the twentieth and the first decade of the twenty-first century, when Sweden became a multiethnic, multicultural, and racially divided country. I examine the development of international adoption policies in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, emphasizing the erasure of the child's connection to a preadoptive past, even as the child's cultural difference was celebrated in adopting nations. In Sweden, which in the late 1970s and early 1980s had the world's highest adoption ratio (number of transnational adoptions per 1000 live births), debates about the Swedishness of the adoptee and the difference of the immigrant child underscored the assumption that the former but not the latter could become completely Swedish, while hinting at the (in)significance of race in constituting Swedish identity. My research situates transnational adoption in the context of technologies of exclusion that regulate the national body and the complex position of the adoptee as an incorporated but excluded other in adopting nations.


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pp. 327-345
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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