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Title: Sure Start's sacrifice : an Irigarayan analysis of the phallogocentric devaluation of mother-work in New Labour social policy discourse
Author: Staples, Eleanor Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 2604
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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In this thesis, I explore and challenge the devaluation of mother-work (defined as the unpaid, domestic activities involved in child rearing) in New Labour social policy discourse, looking specifically at the ' Sure Start' programme. This project is rooted in Luce Irigaray's deconstructive psychoanalytic feminism/feminist philosophy but employs NVivo, a 'positivistic' computer aided qualitative data analysis software programme to structure a feminist critical discourse analysis of Sure Start policy documents. Harnessing the productive tension arising from these seemingly alien bodies of knowledge, I locate and undermine the devaluation of mother-work within the policy texts. I first trace Irigaray's development of the critique of phallogocentricism which she reaches through a feminist engagement with, and reformulation of, dominant western philosophical and psychoanalytic theories. I then expand and elaborate upon this critique, drawing out and developing the tropes of Matricide and the Sacrificial Economy. These tropes, I argue, are mechanisms that sustain the phallogocentric organisation of western culture. After considering the epistemological puzzles which arise from pairing Irigaray's theory with my methodological tool of Nvivo, the project culminates in a feminist critical discourse analysis of Sure Start documents. I use NVivo to highlight the silences, slips, occlusions and conflations that occur in Sure Start documents which construct phallogocentric, but socially and politically meaningful messages about mother-work and paid employment. This method allows me to detail where Sure Start documents use the phallogocentric mechanisms of Matricide and the Sacrificial Economy, split into down into 'mother node', 'father node' and 'parent node' to reinscribe the ideological notion of the intrinsic worth of paid employment and the devaluation of mother-work, thinking this valuation to the phallogocentric fear of the maternal body and of relationality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available