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Becoming a mother through culture

Urwin, Cathy; Hauge, Mona Iren; Hollway, Wendy and Haavind, Hanne (2012). Becoming a mother through culture. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(6) pp. 470–479.

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‘Culture’ is often considered in terms of identifiable artefacts, rules and practices, with less attention given to how investment in these features comes about. Using data extracts from a case study of a young woman who is becoming a mother for the first time, we pay attention to how people react to cultural processes in terms of how they ‘feel’. We use our own affective and reflective responses to interviews and observational material about Azra’s experiences with feeding her baby within the context of her extended family of Bangladeshi descent in a contemporary East London setting. Drawing on Bakhtin’s concept of ‘voice’ and Bion’s theory of thinking as an emergent phenomenon necessitated by the pressure of emotional experience, we trace how her own wishes became more articulated and were given precedence among the diverse voices of others about how to feed her baby son. We suggest an account of personal agency in which a dynamic, processual subjectivity will draw on as well as transform the web of relationships that a culture has to offer.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1552-7565
Keywords: cultural transition; becoming; personal change; mothering identity; breast-feeding; bottle-feeding; psychosocial; voices; interpretative methods
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Psychology in the Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
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Item ID: 34371
Depositing User: Wendy Hollway
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 08:13
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2013 18:52
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