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Constructions of morality and parenthood: the place of everyday visual artefacts in exploring intergenerational infant-feeding practices with mothers and grandmothers

Mannay, Dawn, Grant, Aimee and Marzella, Ruby 2015. Constructions of morality and parenthood: the place of everyday visual artefacts in exploring intergenerational infant-feeding practices with mothers and grandmothers. Presented at: Qualitative Research: Beyond the Fractured Future, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 15-17 July 2015.

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Abstract

Breastfeeding has a range of benefits for mother and baby, however, breastfeeding rates in Wales, UK are very low, with only one per cent of Welsh women exclusively breastfeeding their babies for six months, in line with World Health Organisation guidance. The increased political prioritisation of breastfeeding has rendered infant feeding a site of ethical and interactional discord, in which both mothers who breastfeed and those who use formula feeds must navigate pervasive moral frameworks; and engage in discursive work to justify their status as acceptable caregivers. Mother’s choices in relation to feeding practices are complex and draw on multiple factors that are social, psychological and physiological. This study was situated in in marginalised areas in south Wales and it drew on the intergenerational accounts of new mothers and grandmothers. The paper explores the ways in which governmental policies on infant feeding collide with mothers’ embodied, cultural and domestic experiences and beliefs about what is appropriate in the context of family life and their wider social milieu. The moral landscape and the affective nature of the research focus meant that traditional forms of question and answer interviews were incongruous. Consequently, the study employed everyday visual artefacts as the vehicle for discussions, to allow participants to explain their subjective experiences of negotiating the positions of ‘good mother’ and ‘good grandmother’. Participants photographed objects to symbolise their journeys through the moral maze of motherhood and provided the researchers an insight into their mediation of the challenges associated with infant feeding. The paper argues that introducing a visual element to the data production process allowed participants to tell their stories from their own perspectives; and engendered a space to consider the practices, troubles and tensions of contemporary motherhood.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Medicine
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Funders: Children and Young People's Research Network
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2017 20:12
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/69104

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