Aotearoa Migration Research Network Seminar Series 2021

Date Tuesday 6 July 2021
Time 11am - 12pm
Where Zoom (
Presenter Dr Richey Wyver (University of Auckland)
Contact Jessica Terruhn
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

"More Beautiful than Something we Could Create Ourselves": Exploring Swedish International Adoption Desire

Sweden is arguably the world’s leading adopting nation, with the highest per capita rates of international adoptees, and with white adoptive parents of children of colour prominent in politics, media and academia. Despite a steady stream of corruption and trafficking scandals, and adult adoptee accounts of racism and alienation, international transracial adoption is celebrated as a bastion of Swedish national myths of goodness, exceptionalism, “anti-racist” colour-blindness and international solidarity. In this talk I critically address the relationship between Swedishness and adoption, placing adoption in Sweden’s hidden history of racism and eugenics. I explore how the body of the transracial adoptee is used to portray Swedish goodness, and to create the idea of a good white Swedish subject. Above all, I discuss how representations of the adoptee body are used in a process of decontextualising and depoliticising to purify Sweden’s racist past and present, and to conceal the violence of the adoption project itself and the racist desires that fuel it.