Children for sail:British child migrants as colonial commodities

von Benzon, N. (2021) Children for sail:British child migrants as colonial commodities. Children's Geographies. ISSN 1473-3285

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This paper addresses the historical geography of British child migration to New Zealand between 1949 and 1954; a period that marked the ‘beginning of the end’ of centuries of state-sanctioned emigration of unaccompanied, poor, British children. This particular child migration programme was executed under the dual motivations of boosting the New Zealand economy through population increase, whilst ‘rescuing’ British children living in poverty. This paper seeks to explore the concept of the commodification of children through an historical account based on thematic analysis of New Zealand newspaper articles published between 1910 and 2017. This analysis demonstrates the way newspaper stories both reflect social discourse–in this instance concerning the desirability of the hosting of British child migrants–and act as a socio-technical device that shapes them–marketing the children to potential host families. The paper demonstrates how transnational geo-political and geo-economic flows of unaccompanied children complicate biocommodification and caring relations. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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Journal Article
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Children's Geographies
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11 Nov 2021 10:05
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 10:50