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Title: 'Becoming' a teenage mother in the UK
Author: Ellis-Sloan, Kyla
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2012
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In recent years teenage pregnancy and parenthood have been topics of much debate within academia, government and the media in the UK. The contemporary problematisation of teenage parenthood has meant that young mothers have been the subject of a number of recent policy interventions. This thesis examines the issues which confront young mothers in the context of these social policy interventions. It provides an overview of the literature debating the conceptualisation of teenage pregnancy and parenthood as a significant social problem. In addition, it traces the development of policies aimed at reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy and supporting teenage parents. The thesis involves a qualitative study of young parents and their responses to these problematising discourses and the policies they have stimulated. Qualitative research methods are used to examine key 'decisions' and 'choices' made by young women as they 'become' mothers. Participant observation was conducted in three young parent support groups in the South East of England. This was followed up with a range of interviews and focus groups to elicit a deeper understanding of motives and influences behind key 'decisions' made by young parents. The discussion of 'decisions' are divided into three areas. Firstly, contraceptive and reproductive 'decision-making'; secondly, the 'decision' to continue with a pregnancy; and, thirdly, 'decisions' relating to relationships, education and employment made by the women once they have 'become' mothers. This allows a sense of the women's 'paths' to 'becoming' mothers to emerge. This thesis adds to the emerging debate which challenges the contemporary problematisation of teenage pregnancy and parenthood in media and policy discourses. The focus on young women's 'decisions' provides a unique approach to examining the experiences of teenage parents in relation to policy. Consequently this enables a valuable insight to emerge of the ways in which social policy is experienced by those it is designed to support. Frameworks of gender and constructions of 'good' motherhood are employed to understand how the women engage, resist and manage social policies aimed at shaping their behaviour. As such, some assessment can be made of the 'successes' and 'failures' of policy approaches to teenage pregnancy and parenthood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L000 Social Sciences