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'People try and police your behaviour': the impact of surveillance on mothers' and grandmothers' perceptions and experiences of infant feeding

Grant, Aimee, Mannay, Dawn and Marzella, Ruby 2017. 'People try and police your behaviour': the impact of surveillance on mothers' and grandmothers' perceptions and experiences of infant feeding. Families, Relationships and Societies 10.1332/204674317X14888886530223

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Pregnancy and motherhood are increasingly subjected to surveillance. Research has highlighted that public breastfeeding is difficult to navigate within existing constructs of acceptable femininity; but, at the same time, mothers who formula feed are often located within discourses of the failed maternal subject. This paper draws on intergenerational reserach with six mother/grandmother pairs from marginalised urban Welsh locales, which involved eliciations interviews around the everyday artefacts that participants presented to symbolise their experiences of motherhood and infant care. We examine the negotiation of acceptable motherhood in relation to the intrusive policing of lifestyle choices, consumption and infant feeding from family, friends and strangers. The paper argues that the moral maze of surveyed motherhood renders infant feeding a challenging, and challenged, space for women.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
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
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
T Technology > TR Photography
Uncontrolled Keywords: breastfeeding, infant formula, infant feeding, morality, motherhood, surveillance, stigma, visual methods, participatory research, qualitative research
Publisher: Policy Press
ISSN: 2046-7435
Funders: Children and Young People’s Research Network (CYPRN)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 January 2017
Date of Acceptance: 13 February 2017
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 22:23

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