Towards geographies of mothering: Care, identity and the socio-spatial context of mothering - PANEL

This session aims to connect disparate strands of research regarding mothers into a more cohesive ‘geographies of mothering.’ Holloway (1998) suggests that mothers are under-researched because of social sciences’ domination by the masculinized subject. Although she was writing nearly two decades ago, there is still a dearth of articles specifically exploring geographies of mothering. Despite some progress in research examining a variety of topics such as child care, mothers’ subjectivities, ‘mumpreneurs’ and the ways mothers are disciplined in and through space, motherhood on the whole has remained underexplored in geography. Yet, mothering is highly spatial, from geographical variation in constructions of mothering, the regulation of mothers, and different discourses around motherhood to some of the specific bodily limitations of mothering in and through specific spaces.

Further, the act of mothering also shapes roles in higher education, both in the sense that many of us have to negotiate balancing work with family responsibilities, but also in the sense of roles we may play ‘mothering’ students and colleagues, or ourselves receiving ‘mothering’. Organizing around such identities offers an opportunity not only to expand literature on geographies of motherhood and maternal subjectivities but may potentially serve as an important space to address mental health challenges, stress and the need to build caring networks in the academy.