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Title: Mothering children with serious vision impairment : agency, disability and 'good' mothering
Author: McDonald, Eleanor
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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This study explores women's experiences of mothering children with serious vision impairment (SVI). The study is informed firstly by theoretical constructions of agency, understood as the resources and capacities which enable and shape action, and secondly by debate concerning the cultural constructions of 'good' mothering. Mothers of children with disabilities have particular pressures on them due to the intensive and prolonged nature of caring for their children. Mothering disabled children often has a different 'mothering trajectory' to that of non-disabled children. This thesis explores what 'good' mothering means in the context of these different mothering trajectories by examining three main areas of care. The empirical sections focus on mothers accessing health care provision for their children, protecting their children and promoting their independence at home, and dealing with other people's reactions to their children's disabilities outside the home. Although there is a huge literature on mothering children with disabilities the literature on parenting children with SVI is very limited, and most are North American or Canadian studies (Jenks 2005). This thesis adds a UK perspective to studying mothering children with SVI. Whilst a diagnosis is initially seen as negative in terms of their child's future, mothers are able to learn about the conditions and take some control over accessing and providing the best care for their children. This study supports arguments concerning agency, empowerment, and the ways in which mothers are active agents within the constraints of their own family situations (Miller 2007). Though for many the day-ta-day care of young children is a lonely -and isolating experience there is at least a degree of ‘maternal-competence’ or even 'maternal power' arising out of the child-caring practices described as a ' narrative of challenge'. In this context this thesis argues that we should think of the resources and capacities available as part of mothers' agency as affective as well as reflexive. For mothers in this study the emotional aspects of mothering are key to driving the resilience and persistence which enable them to operate effectively as parents of children with SVI
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available