Motherhood: Meanings, Practices and Ideologies

Overview

This volume explores the diverse contexts, meanings and experiences of mothering, and reveals how these intersect with prevailing social constructions and ideologies about 'normal' or 'ideal' motherhood.

The authors critically examine assumptions that not only underpin 'commonsense' notions about motherhood, but are also produced and reproduced in childcare manuals and theoretical work on mothering. They show how dominant discourses about motherhood both circumscribe and ...

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Overview

This volume explores the diverse contexts, meanings and experiences of mothering, and reveals how these intersect with prevailing social constructions and ideologies about 'normal' or 'ideal' motherhood.

The authors critically examine assumptions that not only underpin 'commonsense' notions about motherhood, but are also produced and reproduced in childcare manuals and theoretical work on mothering. They show how dominant discourses about motherhood both circumscribe and conflict with the range of practices of mothers as they care for their children in real life. The impact of these contradictions are considered for women without children, for mothers who are younger or older than average, for mothers of children with disab

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'A beautifully constructed account of the psychological and social constructions of motherhood and the variety of social experiences, from youthful to later motherhood, to employment, to sons and daughters. A pleasure to read and a must for all students involved in issues about families' - Professor Miriam David, Head of Department of Social Sciences, South Bank Polytechnic

'interesting... There is a wealth of quotation from the research participants and the style is lively... I would recommend it as a provocative read' - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

'Provides a perspective on motherhood with which most educational psychologists will not be familiar. There is much in it for those who are parents, particularly mothers who may already have had cause to question the approach of certain childcare "experts "... I would recommend this book highly to educational psychologists... there is a commendable attempt at a new approach to the psychology of motherhood and the agenda has been rewritten by the authors of this book. Once having read it one's perception of developmental psychology would never be the same again' - Educational Psychology in Practice

'An excellent and well-written book, exploring personalised meanings of motherhood and the manifestations of those meanings in practice. It manages to avoid an overly polemic or politicised stance while grappling bravely with issues of social control and political power... a refreshing book [which] fleshes out the reality of mothers as real women... The real courage of this book is that it dares to ask the questions it does. It dares to explore the mother's needs, her other relationships, her other children, her perception of self. It dares to challenge the established order based on the assumption of exclusive and permanent availability... very stimulating and challenging' - The British Journal of Educational Psychology

'This collection includes insightful critiques... makes a valuable and valiant contribution to the ceaselessly formidable challenge of denaturalizing 'maternal thinking'' - Journal of Marriage and the Family

'Addresses the ways in which psychology can contribute meaningfully to an exploration of the central questions about motherhood... well written and thoughtful... this volume lays valuable groundwork for an interdisciplinary attempt to pool both sociological and psychological approaches as a common resource in researching motherhood both as individual experience and as cultural institution' - Feminism & Psychology

'this book is an example of the new wave of critiques of psychological models and practices that are now beginning to emerge from feminists working within the discipline. The focus on the book is on how psychology has constructed models of mothering and the ways it has distorted or failed to reflect women's experiences of mothering. There is a clear structure and organization... It could be argued that formulating critiques which assume that a discipline like psychology can be 'improved' is reformist. But this would be to ignore that strategic impact this persuasive book will have for its audience within psychology' - Feminist Review

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction - Ann Phoenix and Anne Woollett
PART ONE: PSYCHOLOGY AND IDEOLOGY
Motherhood - Ann Phoenix and Anne Woollett
Social Construction, Politics and Psychology
Psychological Views of Mothering - Anne Woollett and Ann Phoenix
PART TWO: THE MANDATE FOR MOTHERHOOD
Having Children - Anne Woollett
Accounts of Childless Women and Women with Reproductive Problems
The Social Construction of Motherhood - Harriette Marshall
An Analysis of Childcare and Parenting Manuals
PART THREE: THE 'RIGHT TIME' TO HAVE CHILDREN
Mothers under Twenty - Ann Phoenix
Outsider and Insider Views
Perspectives on Later Motherhood - Julia C Berryman
PART FOUR: MOTHERING REAL CHILDREN IN REAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Challenging Motherhood - Susan Gregory
Mothers and their Deaf Children
Sons and Daughters - Jacqueline Mc Guire
Mothering More than One Child - Penny Munn
PART FIVE: THE QUESTION OF EMPLOYMENT
Employed Mothers and the Care of Young Children - Barbara Tizard
Motherhood and Employment - Suzan Lewis
The Impact of Social and Organizational Values
Afterword - Anne Woollett and Ann Phoenix
Issues Related to Motherhood

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