Children, self-perception and power dimensions in the child protection
Angel, Bjørn Øystein
Sociology, Social Work and Welfare Studies University of Agder Kristiansand, Norway
The paper presents finding form a research project in Norway on children who has been reunited with their family after relatively long-lasting placements by the child protection outside their homes. Drawing upon interviews with 10 boys and girls, 11 to 17 years old, their life-history makes visible the power dimensions in the child protection, and the paper discuss the resistance of the boys and the girls. The material shows active boys and girls who have participated in and contributed to their own lives. The force that the boys and the girls experience is a disciplinary force that is abstract and difficult to grasp. This paper shows that the force consists of a number of chains of rituals that transform a child into an object of care (a foster child) and later transform the child into a subject again. The force consists of routines, rituals and relations where the actions and interpretations together form an objectifying process, which in the ideal case is followed by a re-subjectifying process. The objectifying process of the force has no intrinsic value, but it is a link in re-defining a child´s self-perception to being a foster child and later to being a previous foster child or a child in care of the child protection. The aim of the study is to investigate how children negotiate and renegotiate the meanings of their experiences.