Agamben and the political positioning of child welfare-involved mothers in child protective services

Lorraine Waterhouse, Janice McGhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the UK, protecting children from maltreatment is an administrative and juridical system with law as ultimate arbiter of whether a mother may retain care of her child. The primary legal principle is the child’s best interests. This article draws on Giorgio Agamben’s (1995) theory of ‘bare life’ to examine the identity and the political positioning of child welfare-involved mothers in contemporary Western child protection systems to complement the primary focus on their children. A fundamental underlying issue, namely the control of life and its significance for women involved with state bureaucratic administrative and legal child protective services, is examined along with its significance for the biopolitical identity of child welfare-involved mothers in child protective services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • bare life
  • biopolitical
  • child welfare-involved mothers
  • child-protective services

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