How (not) to talk about adoption: On communicative vigilance in Spain

by Susan E. Frekko, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver, and and Diana Marre

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By Susan E. Frekko, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver, and Diana MarreFull Article: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.12165/full

Transnational adoption is very difficult to talk about in Spain. For this reason, speakers use “communicative vigilance” to emphasize the appropriate ways to speak and particularly not to speak about it. Part of the difficulty, we demonstrate, is that adoption talk must mediate two contradictory understandings of talk and kinship: (1) a referentialist one in which adoption’s undesirability must be first acknowledged and then masked and (2) a performative one in which talk can create a new world where transnational adoption is equivalent to and as valuable as traditional ways of creating families. Our findings have implications for both language-socialization studies and kinship studies.