The Everyday Activities of Motherhood

Sanderson-Mann, Joanna (2010). The Everyday Activities of Motherhood. MPhil thesis The Open University.



The focus of the research is a particular type of localised mothering, in the late 2000s, in the East Midlands of the UK, and the mundane practices that characterise motherhood for a group of women in this region. The thesis employs an ethnographic approach to explore the everyday activities of motherhood, through photographs taken by mothers of their activities, and their talk about them. The data presented is based on observations, with two mothers; and photographs taken by 18 mothers, and interviews. The data are offered as a pictorial and narrated description of their lives, and of their concerns at the time. This data is situated within a literature about the everyday, and how the self is theorised, considering maternal identities and associated subject positions.

The thesis begins with an introduction to the topic, before moving on to a review of different bodies of academic literature about the everyday, and how the self is theorised. The methodology chapter explores how I came to employ reflexive and auto/biographical methods and how visual methods emerged as a productive way of generating, and presenting data on maternal practices. The main body of the thesis takes the form of four chapters, revealing different aspects of the empirical data: food, material culture, space and time. The thesis continues with an analysis of themes that cut through these four chapters, and through which maternal identities and practices can be conceptualised: the creation of home and family through practices; and maternal feelings that gave meaning to these practices. I conclude by suggesting an integration of these practices and feelings to produce a sensual understanding of motherhood.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions