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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Professor Nayanika Mookherjee

Mookherjee, N. (2007). Available motherhood: Legal technologies, ‘state of exception’ and the dekinning of ‘war babies’ in Bangladesh. Childhood 14(3): 339-354.

Author(s) from Durham


This article takes an ethnographical approach to explore the `state of exception' through which legal technologies of abortion and adoption of `war-babies' (children born as a result of wartime rapes) in the Bangladesh war enabled the dekinning and elimination of certain childhoods while the raped women were rekinned within legitimate heterosexual motherhoods. The role of the law in guaranteeing an erasure of blood relations ensured the regulation and availability of women's reproductive capacity and the categorization of the child by the state. Through this process, the Bangladeshi family planning programme was institutionalized, in the context of bilateral foreign aid relating to population control.