By W. Hollway
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Extra resources for Knowing Mothers: Researching Maternal Identity Change
Research and theory in qualitative social science was dominated for decades by the prioritisation of language and discourse and the rather deterministic tendency to see identity as the sum total of positions in discourse. Lisa Baraitser explained as follows her wish, in talking of ‘maternal subjectivity’, to go beyond what has been conceptualised through the lens of maternal identities: When I talk of ‘maternal subjectivity’ however, I am attempting to point towards an experience that resides ‘otherwise’ than or is excessive to maternal identities, thought of as emerging at the intersections particularly between gender, class and ‘race’.
Justine Justine, aged 24, of African Caribbean origin, was unemployed and living with her mother and younger sister when she got pregnant, after an unsettled year when she had lived with her boyfriend’s family, quit her PA job after falling out with her boss, and had a miscarriage which upset her for months until she sought out counselling. By the time her baby was born, she was in emergency accommodation and moved into a cramped studio council flat, where her boyfriend visited. She enjoyed introducing her daughter to educational experiences and the two were inseparable.
I wanted to convey the complex mixture of pleasure, frustration, boredom, loss, worry, exhaustion, satisfaction and pride that she felt and the continuity of generations. I wanted also to convey the clamour of conditions – spatial, relational, cultural, material, biological, ideological, discursive, group and institutional – within which the experience of becoming a mother achieves its meanings. These, in the present, past and future tense, are the conditions of possibility of becoming a mother – becoming in the sense of an identity transition.
Knowing Mothers: Researching Maternal Identity Change by W. Hollway