Complex spaces of orphan care – a Russian therapeutic children’s community
(2015) Children’s Geographies, 13 (1), pp. 30-43.
Institutions of orphan care are immensely complex spaces imbued with social and cultural norms, and can exhibit intricate power relations and particularly severe examples of surveillance. While there have been numerous excellent quantitative studies of these institutions, they reveal little of the complexity and heterogeneity of the spaces, and there remains a need for more qualitative and particularly ethnographic studies of spaces of orphan care to reveal their nuances. Drawing upon the author’s reflections on a highly unusual space of orphan care, this article makes two major contributions to Children’s Geographies: (1) it employs a sorely neglected aspect of Foucault’s work in Children’s Geographies, Mettray, in analysing surveillance and discipline in an institution providing care to orphaned children and (2) It highlights the heterogeneity of these spaces and provides an example of best practice in spaces of orphan care.
care; Children’s Geographies; Foucault; Mettray; orphan; Russia