Spaces and Politics of Motherhood offers a fresh perspective on maternity based on original qualitative research from the United Kingdom and the United States. Drawing on interviews, participant observation, an analysis of parenting websites and policy analysis, this book presents a series of interlinking arguments about the role of space, place and matter in early motherhood and the processes by which mothers come to understand themselves as such.
Building on existing scholarship, Spaces and Politics of Motherhood considers motherhood through themes at the cutting-edge of social and feminist theory including: materiality and material agency; place and memory in the formation of maternal identity; issues relating to parenting in public, and the politics of combining breastfeeding with wage-work. It argues that motherhood is an achievement realised through myriad engagements with a range of human and non-human others, as well as through everyday interactions in public space which can be both emotional and political.
Introduction/ 1. Maternal Becomings: space, time and identity in early motherhood/ 2. Motherhood, Space and Politics with the World: spatial practice and material agency in maternal becomings (with Justin Spinney) /3. Agentic Breastmilk: distributed agencies of infant feeding/ 4. Breastfeeding in Public: affect, public comfort and the agency of strangers/ 5. Mothers Acting Back: claiming space through lactation advocacy (‘lactivism’)/6. Combining Care-work with Wage work: a consideration of the changing policy landscape/ Conclusion/ Bibliography/Index
Kate Boyer is a Senior Lecturer of Human Geography in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University in the UK. She received her PhD in Human Geography in 2001from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and over the last ten years has written extensively about issues of motherhood, politics and space. She has published this research in journals such as: Progress in Human Geography; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Gender, Place and Culture; Social and Cultural Geography and Feminist Theory. She has also shared her work with infant-feeding practitioners and policy-makers through the auspices of a bridge-building seminar series funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council) which ran over 2015 and 2016 (with Drs. Sally Dowling and David Pontin). In 2016 she presented her research to the UK Houses of Parliament through the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequality; and her work has also been noted in the Welsh National Assembly. Born in the US and having lived in both the US and Canada, she currently lives in Bristol with her partner and school-age son.
Spaces and Politics of Motherhood is an important contribution to geography and to feminist studies of motherhood. By bringing together empirical insights into the ways that space(s) matter to the experiences of mothering, with theoretical analysis from New Materialisms and attention to policy, Boyer offers us an innovative and potentially far-reaching addition to this burgeoning area of research.
A beautifully written, groundbreaking study of the challenges mothers face in seeking to feel at home in the world. Evidence-based, theoretically sophisticated, and animated by personal experience, it makes exciting advances in motherhood scholarship, asking: how can mothers be supported, if their care-work isn’t welcomed into the everyday spaces of our lives? This book is destined to become a classic.