About Beyond Mothering Myths? Motherhood in an Age of Neoliberalism and Individualisation
This conference will explore, examine, critique, theorise, and respond to key issues related to mothering in the contemporary globalised world, with a focus on neoliberalism, individualisation, and the emergence of new technologies. How motherhood is experienced, constructed, and contested in contemporary society has been conceptualised in numerous ways since Rich’s (1976) foundational work on the ‘institution’ of motherhood.
These include ‘intensive mothering ideology’ (Hays, 1996), ‘the new momism’ (Douglas & Michaels, 2004), and the ‘good mother’ concept (Goodwin & Huppatz) among various others. Yet, old myths of motherhood continue to be perpetuated and mothers continue to face stigmatization and marginalization.
This conference is interested in the ways motherhood exists today within social, cultural, political, and economic milieus that prioritise neoliberal and individualistic ideals, while simultaneously maintaining the expectations of intensive mothering.
Topics include but are not limited to: how motherhood and individualism impact on identity, agency, self-care, and subjectivity; mothering in response to new technologies and online worlds; maternal activism and advocacy; embodied motherwork including pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding; motherhood and paid employment/volunteering; mothering of young adults and/or ageing parents; motherhood and disability; understanding family violence including surveillance and judicial systems.
Wednesday July 10: 9am - 5pm. Registrations begin at 8.30am.
Thursday July 11: 9am - 5pm
Friday July 12: 9am - 4pm
Dr Renate Klein
Dr Klein is a long-term women's health researcher and has written extensively on reproductive technologies and feminist theory over the last thirty years. A biologist and social scientist, she was Associate Professor in Women's Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne. She is a co-founder of FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering) and an original signatory to Stop Surrogacy Now. Her latest book is Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation (2017).
Dr Petra Bueskens
Dr Bueskens is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, a psychotherapist in private practice at PPMDTherapy and a freelance columnist. She was the editor of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia (2013-2016), and currently sits on the international editorial boards of Studies in the Maternal, the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative and Demeter Press. Petra writes about motherhood, gender relations, social and political theory, basic income and psychotherapy in both scholarly and popular fora. Her books include Modern Motherhood and Women’s Dual Identities: Rewriting the Sexual Contract (Routledge 2018), the edited volume Motherhood and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives (Demeter, 2014) and two forthcoming edited volumes Nancy Chodorow: The Reproduction of Mothering: Forty Years On with Tanya Cassidy and Australian Mothering in Historical and Contemporary Perspective (Palgrave, 2019) with Carla Pascoe. Petra tweets @PetraBueskens