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[book cover] Interrogating Motherhood

Lynda R. Ross

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December 2016

9781771991438 (Paperback)
9781771991445 (PDF)
9781771991452 (ePub)


OPEL (Open Paths to Enriched Learning)

Gender Studies / Sociology



About the Book

It has been four decades since the publication of Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born but her analysis of maternity and the archetypal Mother remains a powerful critique, as relevant today as it was at the time of writing. It was Rich who first defined the term “motherhood” as referent to a patriarchal institution that was male-defined, male controlled, and oppressive to women. To empower women, Rich proposed the use of the word “mothering”: a word intended to be female-defined. It is between these two ideas—that of a patriarchal history and a feminist future—that the introductory text, Interrogating Motherhood, begins. Ross explores the topic of mothering from the perspective of Western society and encourages students and readers to identify and critique the historical, social, and political contexts in which mothers are understood. By examining popular culture, employment, public policy, poverty, “other” mothers, and mental health, Interrogating Motherhood describes the fluid and shifting nature of the practice of mothering and the complex realities that define contemporary women’s lives.


About the Author

Lynda R. Ross is professor of women’s and gender studies, and chair of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University. She has a doctorate degree in psychology from the University of New Brunswick. Her research focuses on the social construction of theory and disorder, attachment, and motherhood.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a เกมส์ยิงปลาออนไลน์Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


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Select a Chapter

DownloadFront Matter

DownloadTable of Contents



Download1. The Study of Motherhood

Download2. Reflections on Motherhood: Theory and Popular Culture

Download3. Paid Employment and the Practice of Motherhood

Download4. Enabling Policies: In Theory and in Practice
Shauna Wilton

Download5. Mothering and Poverty

Download6. Mothers, Mothering, and Mental Health

Download7. “Other” Mothers, “Other” Mothering

Download8. The Future of Motherhood



“Ross provides a comprehensive take on the state of contemporary motherhood in the western world. The book examines the social, political, and economic conditions that influence the ways women - and, to a lesser degree, men - mother. She organizes the book around three themes: the dominant discourses on motherhood; the ways public factors shape private practices of mothering; and the negotiations contemporary women must make to mother. The book is clearly written and organized and gives readers an up-to-date accounting of contemporary motherhood.”

Feminist Media Studies