Monday, May 21, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Youtube is only limited by one's thinking to do the search. Today I did a search on one of my heroines - Martha Fineman - who wrote the Neutered Mother and the Myth of Autonomy. She has done important work on Dependency Theory and Vulnerability which critiques the privatization of care through the family. Here is an interview with her:
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I am happy to say that my I launched a new online site just this week. You will find this at:
Here below is the text from my launch speech -
Thank-you for coming tonight
An impetus for putting together this site is the current high rates of depression and anxiety which often manifests through issues related to identity for women after the birth of an infant.
It’s a fair call to say that there is a pretty big gap between the expectations and the experience of women within families and it took me a thesis to try and flesh out this territory.
A one liner response from me is that – we have reached a new ‘high water mark’ in attempts to achieve a form of gender equity.
We all know that care matters but the way we are responding to the requirements for care – that is for infants and children, but also for the aged, for the disabled and more – is our current challenge.
There have been continuing attempts to respond – through:
the recent report on the needs of carers,
moves to increase the wages of community and care sectors,
the 19 week universal paid parental leave scheme,
and increasing numbers of child and aged care places.
While at the same time there have been huge financial strains on parents and an increasing number of single parent families.
In 2006 the Australian Professor of Sociology, Michael Fine published: A Caring Society? Care and the dilemmas of human services in the 21st century
And it is within this wider context of change and care that I am locating the experience of women-as-mothers.
I have brought down some sample books that people might like to have a look through – some of my personal favourites include:
the Myths of Motherhood by Shari Thurer, which sets out a history of mothering from cave woman to the present day;
the beautifully written classic Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich;
The Mother Knot by Jane Lazarre.
There is also the Maternal is Political, the Mommy Myth and the Myth of Autonomy - all excellent books
I have been a member of the Australian Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement from it’s inception in 2001. This is a sister organisation to the MIRCI group in Toronto, Canada. This Canadian center is very active with a journal and the Demeter Press. I have brought along some sample journals for anyone who might like to peruse.
On the site I have also included an overview for an online certificate course that I will be offering in first term 2012 with the Continuing Education Association at the ANU - please let me know if you’d like more information.
My emphasis on mothering is not to downplay the experience of men – this is an area that is in bloom as well. There is the excellent XYONLINE site that provides multiple references and links on all kinds of masculinities.
Please bear with us maintaining all the interlinking within the site – we are doing our best to get it right and keep things working.
At this point I need to do some important - THANK YOUs:
the first is to ALEX SLOAN for doing the launch today!
an important second is to KEN HOOD who has provided all the necessary I.T. expertise and support.
Without Ken the site simply wouldn’t there. It’s all well and good for this to be a labour of love for me – but for Ken so far his work has been an act of friendship and support – and I am hoping to reimburse him something for his mighty efforts.
I’d like to thank MY FRIENDS and colleagues for their continuing support and encouragement – something that has been much appreciated!!
But importantly I would like to THANK BARRY my life partner for his continuing love and support – again I couldn’t have done all this without him.
And my two wonderful off-spring JOEY and HANNAH for understanding, I hope, that all this talk about ‘being a mum’ springs from an aspiration by our current batch of mum out there to do and provide the best we can for our kids.
Being a mum is one of the most critical but also one of the most complex of life experiences and believe me there are some wonderful resources. I am hoping that, at least in this initial phase, that the site can be a catalyst for some voyages of discovery.For now, Joannie
Sunday, September 11, 2011
When I set out on my thesis I was convinced that women-as-mothers had agency a conviction was shaken over time though never abandoned. I came to approach tensions between structure and agency in the lives as women-as-mothers from two angles - the macrosocial - the social structuring of care and - the microsocial - interactions between mothers and their infants.
Here today I am talking about the social structuring of care - macrosocial factors that significantly influence our everyday lives, that is after the birth of an infant, but also if we are responsible for the care of our aged parents/friends, disabled family/friends or someone who is unable to care for themselves - say friends or family suffering with Aids or any other debilitating illness. My perspective on this has been informed by the work of both Eva Feder Kittay in Loves Labour and Martha Fineman in The Myth of Autonomy (amongst other of their publications) but also Nancy Folbre, Anne Orloff, Martha Nussbaum, Selma Sevenhuijsen and Alison Jagger.
Families exist within a social system that privatizes care for dependents, infants in this case, within the family, through a divide in law and policy between the public, state and market, and private family arenas. The work of care has been represented as private, associated with roles and responsibilities, and thus related to identity; with an associated moral or value perspective on the good or bad mother, and the good or bad provider. This privatization has been upheld by an understanding of the autonomous individual who is not responsible for care. This notion of autonomy has informed rights discourse and is thus an anathema to the position of the primary care-giver, who is generally a woman. A divide in law and policy effectively blocks the primary care-giver from access to full citizenship rights and has held back trends towards gender equity. It is important to recognize that the discourse relevant to the experience of women-as-mothers is often individualized in theory through notions of equity, and gendered through associations with care. Dependency theory provides for critique, while an emergent body of literature on care is seeking out new ways to conceptualize non-gendered structuring of dependency. The notion of care as an analytical category is evident in debates involving feminist theory, moral philosophy, and the economics of care that are canvassed in chapter six of my thesis. Here I am referring to ‘care’ as social practice, as set out by Beasley and Bacci rather than as an abstract moral disposition.
Something, anyhow, by way of a start ......
for now, J