CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

During Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976–1983), the military developed a systematic plan for seizing the children of murdered or “disappeared” militants. Using forged adoption papers or birth certificates, these children were separated from their birth families and handed over to other families. This article analyzes the arguments and explanations used in the attempt to justify and legitimize these practices, with a special emphasis on the connection between these discourses and the social and institutional categories that turned “abandoned” children into a recognizable issue that merited state intervention. In this way, we examine the process by which childhood became a field of dispute, in terms of how its exemplary values—innocence, vulnerability, and purity, among others—were not only used to justify giving away these children, but were also invoked by the children’s grandmothers to condemn the abductions.

Carla Villalta
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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