Karina Vasilevska-Das

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, San Francisco, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9439

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Vasilevska-Das, Karina, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on ''Children are Our Future': Childhood, Citizenship and the Corporeal Politics of Futurity in Post-Socialist Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Ian Whitmarsh

KARINA VASILEVSKA-DAS, then a graduate student at University of California, San Francisco, California, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on ”Children are Our Future’: Childhood, Citizenship and the Corporeal Politics of Futurity in Post-Socialist Latvia,’ supervised by Dr. Ian Whitmarsh. Researching pediatric health in Latvia provides a unique angle on theorizing corporeal politics of futurity of a small nation situated on the EU’s border with Russia. This project explores the practices of ‘managed corporeality’ — the involvement by parents and medical professionals in physically managing children’s bodies. The practices include physical therapy for babies and athletic children, wearing infants in slings and extended breastfeeding and are aimed at creating healthy adults. This study links the field of medicine with that of social theory through nuanced ethnography of health practices enacted at two research sites: 1) a group of parents involved in novel parenting style that emphasizes close physical proximity to young children that the researcher calls ‘body-intensive’ parenting; 2) among the professionals and children involved in a yearly mandatory youth athlete’s physical exam. Through attention to parents and professionals who are actively shaping young children’s bodies, the dissertation attends to the connections between medicine, parenting and nationhood. The unique geopolitical location and history of Latvia allow to explore particularly Latvian morality and aesthetics that the study refers to as ‘straight-back morality’ or the physiological and metaphorical value of the ‘straight-spine’ and contributes to conceptualizing global fascination with moral straightness and normativity.