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Session Overview
RN13_02b: Parent-child relations, mothering and fathering practices II
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Sigtona Halrynjo, Institute for Social Research
Session Chair: Malgorzata Sikorska, University of Warsaw, Institute of Sociology
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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Anticipating Transitions to Motherhood across Generations. A Temporal Avenue for Researching Modern Mothering.T

Marta Buler, Paula Pustułka

SWPS Uniwersytet Humanistycznospoleczny, Poland

Becoming a mother is a clear and identifiable “hub event” in personal biographies of women. However, it is increasingly noticeable that modern motherhood elicits a temporal shift in which the maternal role does not start with the transitional event of birth, but rather begins earlier, in the phase of preparations during pregnancy. With the advances in medical technology, heightened permeation of intensive parenting cultures, as well as consumerist culture targeting pregnant women, the experiences and practices observed during the phase of anticipating a transition to motherhood are sociologically vital on their own. They define a process of becoming a mother and shed light the changing notions of motherhood and mothering over time.

With a research design of the GEMTRA project, which interviews not only pregnant women, but also their mothers and grandmothers, we gather current and retrospective accounts of what the anticipation of motherhood is all about. Rooted in a temporal and generational perspectives of continuity and change, this paper looks at Polish women’s expectations and experiences of first-time pregnancy, focusing on the interplay between agency, maternal subjectivity, as well as surrounding (social/historical) events and discourse, all observed on a timeline of three generations. Drawing on a subset of 45 In-depth Interviews (IDIs), we propose a typology of anticipating transitions to motherhood.

Child Rearing and Paternal Rights Among the Yoruba and Igbo People of Nigeria

Olayiwola Oluwajenyo Fasoranti


Child rearing involves cultural practices that relate to child acceptance, child socialization and integration into the society. Marriage system and fulfillment of marriage responsibilities are intricately woven into the system and method of child rearing and the rights of the biological father to exercise paternal care over the children in certain societies. This paper attempts to examine the child rearing practices among the Yoruba and Igbo communities in Nigeria. In-depth interview method was used to solicit responses from the respondents. Among other things, the findings of the study include: Children are regarded as the crown of marriage in both societies considered and their absence in a conjugal relationship leads either to a divorce of the woman or marrying additional wife or wives. Children are rated as more valuable than any acquired property; the number of children in a marriage relationship ranges between 5 and 10. Rearing of children and responsibility training is the sole responsibility of both parents or their designated representative while most families prefer male children as first born or at least that there must be a male child in the conjugal relationship. Some men take additional wife/wives in quest for a male child. Among the Yoruba, paternal rights over one’s biological child are unconditionally guaranteed but among the Igbo, paternal rights over one’s biological children are not automatic. Payment of bridal taken and fulfillment of other marriage rites determine the cultural acceptance of paternity over one’s biological child/ the exercise of paternal rights over the child.

Long-term Breastfeeding – Mothers’ Embodied Experiences

Jenny Wilhelmina Säilävaara

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Breastfeeding and embodiment have become the growing interest of researchers in recent years. When it comes to breastfeeding a lot of research has been done in relation to early breastfeeding but also some research has focused on long-term breastfeeding. This paper concentrates on mothers’ experiences on embodiment while breastfeeding long-term. The data includes 39 written accounts of Finnish mothers who have breastfed over 12 months. A qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data.

Mothers reflect on embodiment and four themes were found. Mothers wrote about the functional body and breasts, about being tired, about changes on their body and about breastfeeding and sexuality. The norms that define motherhood and breastfeeding are strongly represented in mothers’ writings. Mothers wrote about new found functionality of their bodies and breasts. Being able to provide “the best nutrition” to their child was often central. They wrote how they felt tired to breastfeed but at the same time explained that the feeling of tiredness had more to do with other things than breastfeeding. They also referred to it as something that was before, when the child was a baby. The saggy breasts and other changes that were in contrast with the beauty norms were often discussed with humour. When it comes to sexuality most wrote that breastfeeding has nothing to do with sexuality but also noted that pleasure while breastfeeding is closely related to sexual pleasure.

This paper adds on breastfeeding studies from the point of view that mothers’ experiences about embodiment are less researched and especially if they are long-term breastfeeding mothers. It contributes also to research on motherhood and norms.

Parenting and Children's Videogaming Experience (the сase of St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Ekaterina Orekh, Elena Bogomiagkova

St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation

The research is focused on an analysis of contemporary St.Petersburg urban practices related to children’s computer gaming. We analyze the strategies used by parents in relation to children's games on various gadgets, but also aim at uncovering the background assumptions about the world we live in, children, parents, childhood and parenthood, which are implied in these strategies. We used semi-structured interviews with parents whose children play computer games, as well as with parents whose children do not engage in computer gaming. Interviews were conducted in 2017-18 in St.Petersburg. The parents with different social characteristics were included in this research.

According to our results there is a connection between parents’ gaming experience and overall positive attitude towards child’s gaming. At the same time, parents’ frequent use of computer at work does not entail a positive attitude towards videogames and child’s involvement into them. Parental attitudes to prohibit or to permit children video gaming are based on two main ideas. The first one we can name as the idea of «fullness of life», and the second - as the idea of «quality of life». The first idea is grounded on the view of the world, when the main value is a variety of activities, eventful saturation of life. The second idea, in contrast, is grounded on the value of the in-depth development of activities, which is evaluated as important. Russian parents use both strategies of argumentation in substantiation of both permission and prohibition of children’s video games activity. We assume, that the idea of quality of life reproduces the Soviet attitudes towards parenting. However, it goes togever with a (neo)liberal rhetoric in relation to the use of computer.

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