Download e-book for iPad: Confronting Postmaternal Thinking : Feminism, Memory, and by Julie Stephens

By Julie Stephens

Public discourse keeps a deep cultural nervousness round expressions of maternalism and the applying of maternal values to the society as an entire. In a coverage context, postmaternalism is the concern given to women’s claims as staff over their political claims as moms. Julie Stephens strikes past those coverage definitions and advances a proposal of postmaternal pondering to sign this starting to be unease with maternal sorts of subjectivity and maternalist views. In defining the contours of postmaternal suggestion, she details
the difficult procedures of cultural forgetting that move hand in hand with the ascendancy of postmaternalism.

Postmaternal considering will depend on a questionable memory—that feminism failed motherhood—and casts second-wave feminists as being antagonistic to maternal expressions and beliefs. Reclaiming another feminist place via oral background, lifestyles narratives, web-blogs, and different wealthy resources, Stephens repudiates the center claims of postmaternal inspiration and confronts the misrepresentation of feminism as having forgotten motherhood. Deploying the interpretive framework of reminiscence reports, she examines the political constructions of forgetting that encompass the maternal and the weakening of nurture and care within the public area. She perspectives the promoting of an illusory, self-sufficient individualism as profoundly hooked up to the ethos, politics, and financial practices of neoliberalism and lays the principles for a much broader social critique of such corrosive advancements. In rejecting either conventional maternalism and the hot postmaternalism, Stephens demanding situations dominant paradigms via new perspectives of attachment and care and appeals for another feminist maternalism centering on a politics of care.

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Extra resources for Confronting Postmaternal Thinking : Feminism, Memory, and Care

Example text

Moreover, the fact that we are so cautious, if not queasy, about any hint of an essentialist connection between women and care can itself be an example postmaternal thinking. Are our fears of essentialism working to silence debate about care and justice in the social and political sphere? In keeping with these views, I engage in an interweaving of memory studies frameworks with a feminist “ethic of care” perspective. Leaving a more detailed analysis of the strengths and limitations of care ethics to later, it is important to briefly note the influence of these ideas in what is to follow.

More than at any point since the 1960s, poverty and racial discrimination, once seen as problems requiring state action, were now seen as the result of state action. ”8 If we take Williams’s depiction here, of a world indeed turned upside down, where solutions have become problems and problems solutions, it is little wonder that in the written narratives and oral testimonies I later discuss there is such a strong perception at the personal and public level of a general failure of care, in short, of feeling unmothered.

This includes an almost complete amnesia about older meanings of dependency as normal and a forgetting of the fact that those who “stand on their own two feet” are often being propped up by a network of invisible (female) labor. Feminist interventions have long made this labor visible by revealing the support active male individuals require for full economic participation. Recent scholarship focusing on women in high-level positions in the workforce also unmasks the labor of poorly paid women who step in and perform the emotional and physical tasks required to sustain a dual-income family.

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Confronting Postmaternal Thinking : Feminism, Memory, and Care by Julie Stephens


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