Resilient young mothering : social inequalities, late modernity and the ‘problem’ of ‘teenage’ motherhood

McDermott, Elizabeth and Graham, Hilary (2005) Resilient young mothering : social inequalities, late modernity and the ‘problem’ of ‘teenage’ motherhood. Journal of Youth Studies, 8 (1). pp. 59-79. ISSN 1469-9680

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This paper draws on a systematic review of qualitative research to explore the resilient mothering practices that young, British, working-class mothers employ to care for their children. The synthesis of studies of UK mothers under the age of 20 demonstrates how young working-class women must mother in impoverished circumstances, at the same time as being discursively positioned outside the boundaries of ‘normal’ motherhood. Consequently, they utilize the only two resources to which they may have access: their families and their own personal capacities. Engaging with debates regarding the extent of the transformations of the social in late modernity, the paper discusses the most prominent of the young mothers’ practices: investment in the ‘good’ mother identity, maintaining kin relations, and prioritization of the mother/child dyad. The paper argues that, while the young mothers’ practices display reflexivity and individualism, they are also deeply embedded in, and structured by, social inequalities.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Youth Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sociology and political sciencesocial sciences(all)life-span and life-course studies ??
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Deposited On:
17 Sep 2013 08:10
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:18