کودکان خشن و خشونت ساختاری: سیگنالینگ مجدد بچه های RAD به اطلاع مددکاری اجتماعی حرفه ای
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|34653||2013||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6543 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 35, Issue 8, August 2013, Pages 1182–1188
This article critically examines representations of children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, or “RAD Kids”, and their construction as dangerous subjects. Based on ethnographic research within attachment therapy clinics, and among adoptive families, social workers, and medical professionals in the U.S. and Russia, the author suggests that notions of danger associated with “RAD Kids” actually reflect a social anxiety about the contexts of structural violence in which we are attempting to build families and raise children at the turn of the 21st century. The author culturally and historically contextualizes the signaling of “RAD Kids” as violent within literature on moral panics over children and youth. She explores how these representations function as an attempt to “resignal” public anxieties about the difficulties associated with building families through adoption, and especially, the adoption of formerly institutionalized children. The article provides a model for thinking about complex relationships between children, pathology, and power to inform the social work professions, and particularly practice with children diagnosed with RAD.
Children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, or, ‘RAD Kids’, are children that are medically and publicly characterized by their inability or unwillingness to form reciprocal emotional relationships with a parental figure (American Psychiatric Association, 2000 and Reber, 1996). Most often children diagnosed with RAD have been adopted from orphanages abroad or from United States foster care systems (Hall & Geher, 2003). Children diagnosed with RAD have also been the subject of countless medical texts and sensational ‘expose’-style primetime specials. Particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s, in tandem with unprecedented adoption rates of formerly institutionalized children from institutions abroad, ‘RAD Kids’ emerged as icons of “families gone wrong” — children diagnosed with, or suspected of having, RAD were commonly referred to in popular media and certain pediatric psychology circles as “kids without conscience” (Magid & McKelvey, 1989), “the wild child” (Lederer, 2007), or “kids who kill” (Thomas, n.d and Thomas et al., 2002). RAD Kids have also been referred to as “last resort kids,” who, without controversial, rigorous, and expensive medical treatment, are destined to become serial killers (Thomas, 2005, p. 3). But are children diagnosed with RAD as dangerous as is publicized? And to what extent does the “danger” that is thought to lie within these children actually reflect certain anxieties about the precarious world in which we are attempting to build families and raise children in the United States? Based on two years of ethnographic research in the late 1990s and early 2000s with 129 adoptive families at risk of dissolution (legal annulment) in an attachment disorder clinic in Evergreen, Colorado, I argue that the popular representation of children diagnosed with RAD as “kids who kill” is an example of a fundamental attribution error. That is, the narratives reflect a tendency to over-value dispositional or pathological explanations for the observed behaviors of children diagnosed with RAD while under-valuing structural explanations (see Miller, 2008 and Ragg, 2006; Transit, 2004). This attribution error, a common characteristic of moral panics (Krinsky, 2008), functions to socially “signal” (Stein, 1985) children diagnosed with RAD in ways that distract and/or deflect attention away from the violence associated with the systems through which formerly institutionalized children are circulated. In this paper, I first contextualize within sociological literature on moral panics some sensational popular representations of children diagnosed with RAD. I then describe one of the controversial treatments that hundreds of children diagnosed with RAD underwent in the 1990s at one clinic in Evergreen, Colorado — the Attachment Center at Evergreen (ACE)1. After this, I turn to some ethnographic data to contextualize the preoccupation with ‘RAD Kids’ as dangerous within the recent, larger cultural turn towards the adoption of formerly institutionalized children to build families in the United States, and specifically how these narratives serve to underwrite a particular type of affective economy associated with adoption, as well as the institutions and actors that literally and figuratively profit from it. Such a reframing helps child welfare workers and child practitioners to think about how popular discourse on children, violence, and risk influence their own roles in large-scale turns toward “punitive or disciplinary reactions to the social dangers that young people are thought to pose” (Krinsky, 2008, p. 1). It also demonstrates how anthropological theory and ethnographic practice might aid in the contestation of American public discourse about ‘RAD Kids’ and children like them — children who are, in fact, “at risk” of being written over or written off by the adults charged with caring for them.