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ERIC Number: EJ1073000
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Between a Contaminated Past and a Compromised Future: The Case of the Ghent Orphanages (1945-1984)
De Wilde, Lieselot; Vanobbergen, Bruno
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v51 n5 p631-643 2015
In the past decades, a body of international research concerning residential institutions for children emerged. This article focuses on the history of the Ghent orphanages (1945-1984). First, the population of the more than 1200 children and young people resident in the orphanages between 1945 and 1984 is analysed. This analysis illustrates a shift from a legal approach to a normative interpretation of the orphaned child. It becomes clear that the Ghent orphanages functioned, in the second half of the twentieth century, as a system of care for what we today would call youth "at risk" or "pre-delinquent" children and not "orphaned children". According to this analysis, the focus shifts to the role and the functions of these institutions within the broader community of the city of Ghent. Although the population of the orphanages changed, the local authorities continued to use the name "orphanage". In that vein, it is argued that concepts such as "orphans" and "orphanages" did not only refer to the classification of certain groups of children, but were also useful tools to protect the social order. An analysis of 45 interviews with both former orphans and educators provides an in-depth insight into the complex relationship between the educators and the orphaned children. In this way, the orphanage was studied not only "from the outside" but also from "the inside", and by capturing the childhood narratives of former orphaned children it is possible to complement the "official story" with their interpretation of the past.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A