Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144155
Title: CARING FOR THE SELF AND OTHER: (RE)CONSTRUCTING FIRST-TIME MOTHERS’ SUBJECTIVITIES THROUGH THE BODY AND IN THE HOME
Authors: JUNIANTI LIM
Keywords: First-time Mothering, Self-other, Care Work, Embodiment, Home, Feminist Care Ethics
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: JUNIANTI LIM (2018). CARING FOR THE SELF AND OTHER: (RE)CONSTRUCTING FIRST-TIME MOTHERS’ SUBJECTIVITIES THROUGH THE BODY AND IN THE HOME. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Feminist geographers have long recognised the important roles mothers play in social reproduction. However, to the extent that mothering is explored within geography, it has evacuated maternal bodies from being central subjects of maternal experiences, due to a discursive focus on the child. This thesis thus places bodies of mothers, specifically that of first-time mothers (FTMs) at centre stage. It focuses on FTMs’ diverse embodied subject positions as new mothers, and how they are shaped (through production of new maternal selves), and reshaped (through negotiations of subject positions) through caring practices in the body and homespace. Using feminist care ethics as a guiding concept and framework, this thesis furthers conceptual understandings of FTMs’ subjectivities in caring for their infants, and the spaces (i.e. body and homespace) they construct and are constructed by. Based on semi-structured interviews with 15 Singaporean FTMs who gave birth within the last two years, this thesis argues that FTMs’ diverse subjectivities (as mothers, wife, and working woman) are spatially constructed, through negotiating the proximate relationship between the self and other (infant). This negotiation is seen through the care practices in spaces of the body and home. In prioritising care towards the infant, FTMs struggle to fulfil care needs for the self (as mothers, wife, and working woman) within both spaces of care. As they temper these struggles through strategies in spaces beyond the home - the street space and workplace - the connections between the self and other that are inherent in these strategies stretch across these spaces towards the home, allowing care to be conceived in more expansive ways. Through this process of negotiation, the home is further (re)constructed as multi-scalar, and endowed with transformative and rewarding meanings of care.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144155
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