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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 by the American Anthropological Association. 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. [adoption, kinship, parenting, language socialization, language ideologies, silence, Spain]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-719
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'How (not) to talk about adoption: On communicative vigilance in Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this