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

By Julie Stephens

Public discourse keeps a deep cultural anxiousness round expressions of maternalism and the appliance of maternal values to the society as a complete. 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 idea of postmaternal considering to sign this turning out to be unease with maternal sorts of subjectivity and maternalist views. In defining the contours of postmaternal proposal, she details
the problematic strategies of cultural forgetting that pass hand in hand with the ascendancy of postmaternalism.

Postmaternal pondering depends upon a questionable memory—that feminism failed motherhood—and casts second-wave feminists as being adversarial to maternal expressions and beliefs. Reclaiming an alternate feminist place via oral heritage, lifestyles narratives, web-blogs, and different wealthy assets, Stephens repudiates the center claims of postmaternal proposal and confronts the misrepresentation of feminism as having forgotten motherhood. Deploying the interpretive framework of reminiscence reviews, 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 advertising of an illusory, self-sufficient individualism as profoundly attached to the ethos, politics, and fiscal practices of neoliberalism and lays the rules for a much wider social critique of such corrosive advancements. In rejecting either conventional maternalism and the recent postmaternalism, Stephens demanding situations dominant paradigms via new perspectives of attachment and care and appeals for an alternate feminist maternalism centering on a politics of care.

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

Sample text

Kittay employs a gender-neutral term, dependency worker, to refer to the unpaid or paid tending to others, yet she also comments: “Nonetheless, to ignore the fact that most of the care of children is done by mothers, and to call this work of caring for children parenting rather than mothering is a distortion that serves women poorly. I therefore follow other feminists who call the care of a child mothering, acknowledging that fathers, too, can be excellent ‘mothers’” (xiii–xiv). In the remainder of this book, I aim to follow the lead of Ruddick, Kittay, and Manne and try to work within these tensions and contradictions around gender and care.

This story begins with feminism bursting forth in welfare states and excolonial development states in the postwar period. Fraser then identifies different features of state-organized capitalism and a political culture that became subject to challenge at a structural level by the New Left and emerging women’s movements. Her analysis of this period focuses on feminism’s expanded understanding of subordination and injustice and its systemic critique of capitalist society. While her method can at times appear overly general, she nevertheless acknowledges considerable nuance in the second-wave rejection of certain aspects of state-led capitalism (nation-state sovereignty, economism, androcentrism, and étatism).

The most recent debates about the relationship between feminism and neoliberalism will be examined alongside other elements that contribute to an unmothering of society as a whole. In keeping with the effort to theorize postmaternal thinking, chapter 1 will provide a more detailed analysis of Sara Ruddick’s conception of maternal thinking as well as some of the “afterlives” of her influential book. The chapter will conclude by positing a connection between postmaternal thinking and the dominant ways feminism has been remembered, including, of course, political structures of forgetting that shape feminist cultural memory.

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