Between victim and victimizer: The narrow corporeal path of being a foster child

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Between victim and victimizer: The narrow corporeal path of being a foster child

Niranjan Karnik

Foster children in the U.S. welfare system exemplify an archetypal category of victim. Many of these children undergo a transformation from victim to victimizer. This process is rooted in experiences of the body that track in parallel with each child’s individual biography. By following in detail the case of one boy, Michael, and the narrative of his body, it is possible to see the ways that child welfare institutions and the formal protocols they create, act to push Michael’s body from the category of victim to that of victimizer. Institutional attempts to control and observe the bodies of foster children thus show elements of a Foucauldian universe that additionally constructs the bodies of young males as potential weapons.

Reference:  2001. Karnik, N. S. Children and Youth Services Review, 23 n(9/10), 743-759.

Available at:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019074090100158X.