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Contextualising Australian mothering and motherhood


Pascoe Leahy, C and Bueskens, P, Contextualising Australian mothering and motherhood, Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, CP Leahy and P Bueskens (ed), Cham, pp. 3-20. ISBN 9783030202668 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-3-030-20267-5


While mothers, ideas about motherhood and practices of mothering have existed in every time period and culture, maternal studies as a distinct field has only emerged in the past few decades, symptomatic of the ways in which mothers are so often the taken-for-granted. This chapter charts the historical context within which Australian women have experienced mothering over the past century, explaining that alongside profound changes, significant continuities persist. Governments have consistently sought to use financial levers such as welfare payments and taxation policies to influence women’s choices in relation to fertility and employment; women’s reproductive decisions have continued to be constrained by moral judgements and cultural discourses; and the ‘optimal’ mother has been persistently defined as married, white, middle-class and heterosexual. Recording and interrogating these historical trends, a rich body of maternal studies literature has emerged at the interstices of a range of disciplines including anthropology, education, history, literary analysis, psychoanalysis, public policy, sociology and history. Chapter 1 outlines the contributions that each chapter in this volume makes to Australian maternal studies and teases out a unifying framework for the collection, drawing upon maternal and matricentric feminisms.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:history, sociology, mother, Australia, maternal
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148724
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-07-26

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