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Disentangling an Invisible Trade

State Interventions in Dutch and Dutch-Curaçaoan Single-Mother Families

Disentangling an Invisible Trade
  • Year of publication 2015
  • 224 pages
Author:Tessa Verhallen
Series:Willem Pompe Instituut (volume 78)
Category: Criminology General
Icon_printbook 978‐94‐6236‐581‐0 | paperback | 1st edition | € 44,50 / $ 60,07 / £ 47,17
Icon_ebook 978‐94‐6274‐344‐1 | ebook | € 44,99 / $ 60,73 / £ 47,68

This book sheds light on the interactional and institutional processes through which child welfare and child protection practices are delivered to fifteen Dutch and fifteen Dutch-Curaçaoan single-mother families with multiple problems in the Netherlands in order to assess structures of power, dominance and oppression. It is important to ‘Disentangle an invisible trade’, because state intervention practices remain largely ‘invisible’ from the public gaze.The author draws on a thirty-month ethnographic study, undertaken with the single-mother families between 2009 and 2012, in order to demonstrate how state interventions are carried out in these families. Using the empirically grounded theory of Agar (1985) on institutional discourse, the book addresses the question of how state interventions are shaped by institutional discourse and power asymmetries in encounters between single-mother families with multiple problems and state representatives.The different chapters of the book aim to unravel the ‘invisible trade’phenomena step-by-step, descending from the macro-level via the meso and micro- to the ego-level. It does so through the combined ethnographic critical discourse analytical framework, which the author has developed for the analysis of empirical data upon which the chapters are drawn. All four levels together make transparent how institutional discourse is (re)produced and constituted within sites of a larger system, which is influenced by power asymmetries.

Target group

This publication is meant for policy staff of relief agencies and the (municipal) government, social work researchers and criminologists.

Author's information

Tessa Verhallen was a junior teacher in Cultural Anthropology at the Utrecht University. In 2008, she obtained a MSc in Human Geography at the Radboud University Nijmegen and graduated cum laude on a thesis focusing on the limitations of Dutch Tamils’ integration processes in the Netherlands. From 2008 until June 2009, she worked as an Anthropologist for the Ministry of Justice. From June 2009 onwards, Tessa worked as a PhD candidate at the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology at the Utrecht University.