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Between care and control? Orphan geographies in the Russian Federation

Disney, Tom (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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While many countries in the West have been broadly pursing policies of deinstitutionalisation since the latter half of the 20th Century, orphanages remain the norm for many countries. Orphanage research has often tended to be conducted through a bio-psychological lens, and there remains little qualitative research to reveal the nuances of micro-scale practices taking place within these institutions. This thesis employs a multi-sited ethnography and explores the orphanage as a complex institution influenced by Soviet and Post-Soviet practices of childcare. In particular, this research draws upon an ethnography conducted in an orphanage for children with severe intellectual disabilities. The thesis considers the multiscalar nature of this institution and explores childhood mobilities, agency and elements of discipline and control within the institution, destabilising the notion of the orphanage as an environment of care.

This research addresses significant empirical lacunae in human geography and studies of post-socialism through an ethnographic study of Russia's disability orphanages. This research also challenges understandings of mobility in children's geographies by drawing upon theories of coerced and disciplined mobility. Finally, in highlighting the vulnerability of these children, this thesis develops the concept of 'contingent agency' to provide a more nuanced understanding of agency in children's geographies.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Moran, Dominique and Jones, Phil and Morris, Jeremy
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information:

Publication resulting from research:

Disney, Tom. "Complex spaces of orphan care–a Russian therapeutic children's community." Children's Geographies 13.1 (2015): 30-43.

Subjects:GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6298
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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