chapter  6
Orphanages as spaces of care and control
ByTom Disney
Pages 15

Orphanages are curiously absent from geography, despite these spaces demonstrating a number of notable similarities to other institutional environments such as asylums, prisons and secure care facilities that have long been staples of geographical literature. Children’s geographers are well placed to consider orphanage spaces, which reflect recent developments in the sub-discipline of children’s geographies that have highlighted the diminished utility of the biosocial dualism (Lee and Motzkau 2011), and the need to avoid approaches that ‘expel’ or ‘bracket out’ biology or materiality (Prout 2005). While biopolitics has been put forward as a means to analyse contemporary childhood and move beyond biosocial dualisms, there is concern within geography that biopolitics has, at times, been uncritically engaged with. This chapter’s contributions are twofold. First, it provides an overview of the development of biopolitics drawing upon Foucault, and situates it within his wider conceptualisation of biopower. Second, it reviews qualitative studies of orphanage spaces through the lens of biopower to illustrate the complexity and multi-scalar nature of the term, and the need to consider orphanages within children’s geographies.