Mothering in the new moral economy : making, marking and classing selves
This thesis is an empirical study examining personhood. More specifically, it is concerned with the ways in which (maternal) subjectivity is constructed through and negotiated within power/ knowledge complexes. A qualitative empirical analysis of interview data gathered from mothers of pre school children demonstrates the central importance of social and cultural relations which account for selfhood. Selfhood here is negotiated through the child, who comes to stand, (more than ever), for the promise of a new moral economy. Such a weighty responsibility upon the figure of the child however, is turned back as coda for good parenting, implying much more than 'instinctual' or 'natural ՚ maternity, and rather pointing up the part classed relations, potentials and inscription has come to play in making and being 'good' citizens. This study is concerned then with the ways in which 'classlessness' has been invoked through the use of family, love, potentials (and more specifically the motif of the child) in current politicised constructions of community and society, which owe much to the legacy of Thatcherism. Political rhetoric and forms of expertise, (in this case, 'knowledges' around motherhood), make links to middle classed identity with the intention of dissolving difference and it is these appeals to work upon the project of the self (and cMld) that act as a screen for the re-appraisal of classed (be)longings in western de- industrialised economies The dismissal of class, or rather its traditional imagining has been replaced by appeals to an individual and altogether surveillant moral responsibility. Demonstrating, through reference to recent scholastic work and empirical data, the persistence of class and the fixing of selves in social space; this thesis provides a critical repudiation of late liberal and current New Labour appeals to 'classlessness'.