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Title: The dis/continuities of mothering : women talk about their experiences of their adult children's home-leaving
Author: Green, Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3517 2804
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is about women's experiences of their adult children's home-leaving. It argues that the privileging of the child's shift to adulthood that occurs through their home-leaving occludes the mother's parallel but different transition; her experiences of this time are generally silenced. In consequence, our knowledge regarding the later phase of a mother's life course is extremely limited so that, to date, there remains very little acknowledgement of what mothering means to women once their children achieve the sociocultural status of 'adult' and leave home. The thesis provides an exploration of mothers' experiences of this phase of the life course and as such aims to redress this imbalance. The research undertaken for the thesis takes the young person's movement out of the family home as the catalyst of change for the mother. The focus of its enquiry thus falls on mothers' understandings and experiences of this time and forefronts not only the changes but also the continuities in mothers' relationships with their adult daughters and sons. Drawing on data from interviews with twenty-five women, the thesis explores how the research participants attempted to reconcile the two opposing phenomena of rupture and continuity experienced post separation from their adult children. It argues that the goals of successful motherhood within a western context remain focused upon the adult child's achievement of an independent and autonomous lifestyle. As such, a mobile and flexible adult citizen clearly emerges as the desired outcome for research participants' children. The thesis proposes that this signals a shift in the performance of mothering when discussed in the context of late modernity. In opposition to sociocultural representations of women's lives during this phase of the life course, the thesis also argues that mothers' lives do not remain static once their children leave home. Rather, each research participant was intent on pursuing goals and desires of her own, whilst simultaneously sustaining a sense of self as mother under changed conditions of interaction with the adult child. In and of itself, this engendered a reconfiguration of the mother/adult child relationship.
Supervisor: Griffin, Gabriele Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Humanities