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Acting up and acting out: encountering children in a longitudinal study of mothering

Thomson, Rachel; Hadfield, Lucy; Kehily, Mary Jane and Sharpe, Sue (2012). Acting up and acting out: encountering children in a longitudinal study of mothering. Qualitative Research, 12(2) pp. 186–201.

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Despite a proliferation of research exploring children’s lives and relationships over the past two decades, there is a notable absence of research which explores family relationships from the perspective of very young children (age 0-3). This paper reports on data emerging from a study of new mothering with a particular focus on very young children’s active engagement with wider family narratives. The study employs a qualitative longitudinal design, and women have been followed from pregnancy into motherhood. Most recently we have attempted to document a ‘day in the life’ of the mothers using participant observation techniques. This approach has enabled us to capture the emergence of the child (around 2 years old). This paper focuses on examples of interaction between researcher, mother and child relating to food, exploring how researcher subjectivity can be interrogated as a source of evidence regarding the place of the child within the research and family dynamic including examples of ‘acting up’ and acting out’ on the part of all participants.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1741-3109
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not Set148-25-0057ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Timescapes initiativeNot SetESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Keywords: children; day in a life; food; mobile methods; mothers; participant observation; psycho-social; qualitative longitudinal; researcher subjectivity; work shadowing
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Related URLs:
Item ID: 23705
Depositing User: Rachel Thomson
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2010 14:12
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 12:09
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