Special Issue "Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Jayne Osgood
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT, UK
Interests: gender, early childhood education
Dr. Allison Sterling Henward
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Penn State University, State College, PA 16801, USA
Interests: early childhood education, anthropology and education, children culture

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

We ground this Special Issue in our commitment to critical, feminist, worldly knowledge production that actively works to interrogate existing modernist ideas of childhood and motherhood as well as the institutions, discourses, and histories that work to limit conceptualizations and practices. For decades, various fields in social science and humanities have supplied multiple narratives, tropes, and discursive archives about family, community, mothering, and childhood (Foucault, 1977). Following Foucault (1977), through these processes, families, mothers, communities, and children become discoverable and ‘knowable’. Discourses are ‘constituted by a group of sequences of signs, in so far as they are statements, that is, in so far as they can be assigned particular modalities of existence’ (Foucault, 1972, p. 107) and the way they operate in the research and the power/knowledge nexus is inherent in the construction (Popkewitz and Brennan, 1998). These and other ‘depoliticized discourses function to naturalize socially constructed concepts’ (MacClure, 2011, p.129).

By inviting critical humanist and speculative post-humanist or feminist new materialist approaches to this conversation, we focus on temporality, the complexity, and the overlooked occurrences that typically make up family life. The collective scholarly aim is to generate and extend knowledge about childhood, motherhood, family, and community as inherently contextual, contingent, conflicting, contested, dynamic, uncertain, and, in the tradition of genealogy, socially and historically produced within contexts. Neoliberal versions of parenting, family, motherhood, and childhood have been heavily critiqued for their limiting, essentializing, and containing effects. As these framings become translated into policy and practices, too often, contemporary families feel the brunt. Through modernist understandings, families are normalized, categorized, and too often excluded- deemed insufficient and abnormal within educational and social service policy and practice.

Ways of thinking otherwise become particularly urgent in the Anthropocene, where human activities, conceptualizations, and practices are having world-changing effects on the earth's ecosystem (Braidotti, 2016). With heart-wrenching speed, families, mothers, communities, childhoods, and kin are being torn apart. The global increase in migration caused by human and non-human factors (i.e., global capitalism, environmental desecration) highlight the failings and crumbling of existing epistemologies and ontologies. Modernist, humanist understandings make even less sense now. We view this SI as an ethical response that invites speculation, complexity, and bravery to meet the uncertainty and instability of our times.

This issue would not be possible without the authors. Your papers have invigorated, sustained, and pushed us to reimagine what is possible when thinking otherwise. We are especially grateful to the production team at MDPI headed up by Allie Shi, for their careful work and thought that went into helping us bring this issue to life.

Special Issue Contents:

  1. Introduction: Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’

 Jayne Osgood & Allison Sterling Henward

  1. Mothering in Hindsight: Troubling Time(s)

 Marie Lavelle

  1. I Am Roha’s Emaye: A Critical Autoethnography of Mothering in Liminal Spaces

Kara Roop Miheretu & Allison Sterling Henward

  1. Pets That Have ‘Something Inside’: The Material Politics of in/Animacy and Queer Kin within the Childhood Menagerie

Riikka Hohti & Jayne Osgood

  1. Growing Communities in a Garden Undone: Worldly Justice, Withinness and Women

Simone Miranda Blom & Sarah Crinall

  1. The New Educational Pastorate: Link Workers, Pastoral Power and the Pedagogicalisation of Parenting

Nathan Fretwell

  1. Towards an Ethico-Aesthetic of Parenting: Sensing Ritornellos of Play with GoPro Data

Laura Trafi-Prats & Lucy Caton

  1. Silenced motherhood (s): Forbidden Motherings in the Early Childhood Classroom

Dana Frantz Bentley

  1. Sexual Orientation’ in Swedish Preschool Policy— What Is the Problem?

Lena Sotevik

Braidotti, R. 2016. Posthuman critical theory. In Banerji and Paranjape Critical Posthumanism and Planetary Futures. New Delhi: Springer, pp. 13–32.

Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge (trans. S Smith). New York: Routledge.

Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and Punish (trans. Alan Sheridan). New York: Vintage.

MacClure M. 2011. Child as totem: Redressing the myth of inherent creativity in early childhood. Studies in Art Education 52: 127–41.

Popkewitz, T. S., and M. Brennan. 1998. Restructuring of social and political theory in education: Foucault and a social epistemology of school practices. In Foucault’s Challenge: Discourse, Knowledge, And Power in Education, pp. 3–35.

Prof. Jayne Osgood
Dr. Allison Sterling Henward
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Motherhood
  • parenting
  • community
  • families
  • childhood
  • queer kin
  • non-heteronormative
  • reconceptualizing/reconfiguring/reimagining

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction: Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020039 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
This Special Issue acknowledges genealogy as a critical method and mode for tracing power-laden, taken-for-granted assumptions about childhood, motherhood, family and community [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
Mothering in Hindsight: Troubling Time(s)
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020036 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
This article draws on a small-scale study that explored the (re)configuring, (re)turning and (re)working of the experiences of mothering as seen from a position of looking back in hindsight. Temporality is implicated in several ways within this paper, deeply entwined and constantly shifting. [...] Read more.
This article draws on a small-scale study that explored the (re)configuring, (re)turning and (re)working of the experiences of mothering as seen from a position of looking back in hindsight. Temporality is implicated in several ways within this paper, deeply entwined and constantly shifting. Researching past events, experiences and emotions that appear in a location not of the present is problematic, especially when time is conceptualised chronologically. Making sense of past experiences of mothering in the present exposed parenting as not necessarily something that can be detached from the past or as an experience that lies in the past, but rather something where the past is very much present. Here, Barad’s diffractive methodologies, along with the work of Bennett, on new materialism is utilised to explore the temporal nature of mothering. Nine mothers whose children were aged 18–30 were asked “what do you wish you had known then that you know now about being a parent?” Objects kept from when their children were young were initially used to mobilise the temporal and the affective. However, the study itself, the journeys to mothers’ homes, the interviews, the pen, paper, recordings, photos and the files that stand waiting to be reached and the objects mothers brought have become entwined. This is also true for the new entanglements and engagements with post-humanist theory that unearthed themselves to me in the journey to this point in the process. The paradoxical nature of time evident in the narratives women shared, continued to shape early parenting experiences of how mothers perceived themselves through the constant (re)visiting, (re)evaluating and (re)analysing of these experiences is simultaneously reflected in the spacetimemattering of doing this research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
I Am Roha’s Emaye: A Critical Autoethnography of Mothering in Liminal Spaces
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020035 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
In this critical autoethnographic study, we examine how one woman, Roha’s emaye (Amharic for mother), developed necessary racialized subjectivities as mother of a child who codes as Black in contemporary U.S. society. While substantial research outlines how mothers of color must prepare children [...] Read more.
In this critical autoethnographic study, we examine how one woman, Roha’s emaye (Amharic for mother), developed necessary racialized subjectivities as mother of a child who codes as Black in contemporary U.S. society. While substantial research outlines how mothers of color must prepare children to live in a racist world; typically, this perspective focuses on the child. Often, it excludes how mothers—both Black and White—must ‘do’ identity work to make sense of this. Although race is a social and cultural construct, when women cross the color line to partner and have children, the challenges they face both as part of a couple and mother are real. Data are drawn from journals and memories, blending self-observation and reflexive investigation as fieldwork to intentionally comment on and critique cultural practices surrounding mothering and subjectivity. Data were analyzed using Foucauldian concepts of Genealogy, Power, and Subjectification. Findings indicate that this mother was constructed, regulated, normalized, and categorized and found to occupy multiple liminal spaces. This paper argues that tracing how particular subjectivities are given power and regulated in specific contexts of mothering contributes nuanced understandings of how race comes to matter, for whom, and when. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
Pets that Have ‘Something Inside’: The Material Politics of in/Animacy and Queer Kin within the Childhood Menagerie
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020038 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
In this paper, we seek to unsettle and extend understandings of what constitutes the contemporary family in Western minority world society and consider the material politics that follow from such a reconceptualization. We do this by offering a situated exploration into the caring [...] Read more.
In this paper, we seek to unsettle and extend understandings of what constitutes the contemporary family in Western minority world society and consider the material politics that follow from such a reconceptualization. We do this by offering a situated exploration into the caring relations and shared biographies that routinely evolve between children, other than human animals and toys within the family home. An emergent field of scholarship (Hohti and Tammi 2019; Taylor 2011; Malone 2015) reveals child–animal relations to be charged with various pedagogical and ideological assumptions, which we argue are partly exported to the relations that form between children and their toys. We undertake a close examination of the relationalities between humans and a range of toys as a means to explore the ways in which care and liveliness materialize in childhood play and what this means for our conceptualizations of ‘the family’. We put to work the idea of queer worlding (Haraway 2008; Osgood and Andersen 2019) and animacy (Chen 2012) alongside Puig de la Bellacasa’s (2017, 2011) feminist ethics of care. We then specifically focus on the materiality of robotic toys to illustrate some crucial connectivities and erasures to examine how the queer human–animal and animate–inanimate boundaries are reworked and negotiated in childhood play. These processes create a shift in understanding what matters in children’s lives and how materiality and affective forces co-constitute the posthuman family. This paper engages critically with the ambivalences and tensions that emerge within the domestic menagerie and extend to a planetary scale in ways that are inherently political. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
Growing Communities in a Garden Undone: Worldly Justice, Withinness and Women
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020042 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Where communities are ecological and humans are nature, ways of reimagining and regenerating communities as human and more, offer a timely response to the call of the Anthropocene for worldly justice. We, the authors, as women and mothers, look into time, place and [...] Read more.
Where communities are ecological and humans are nature, ways of reimagining and regenerating communities as human and more, offer a timely response to the call of the Anthropocene for worldly justice. We, the authors, as women and mothers, look into time, place and space, harvesting our ‘becoming (undone)’ for the reader, seeded in the botanical world. Creeping and whispering, still and subtle, plant species are ever present in our survival yet often go unnamed and unnoticed, and to date are under-represented in multi-species becoming research. Via Foucault’s shining light upon power, we muse with Barad, Haraway and Grosz—how does growing (with) plant-life, amongst what is ‘said’ and ‘unsaid’, matter (to) the world as it turns? We have been returned to the same sediment after a decade: Our bowed-together life revived in the childhood–motherhood–nature community entanglements of the Anthropocene. Now, this paper, waters plant–human relationalities living beyond the traditional parochial human-to-human role. We accept our humanness in its onerousness and ownership but look to the leaf litter to reacquaint with our multispecies lives in a garden that has, at times, been sacrificed and lost. Our contribution is chlorophyllic. New ideas enfold and energise what constitutes a community. As women woven with botanica and academia, where mothering is a collaboration rather than a raising, we invite the reader to journey with us into the worldly, life-giving relations that garden a community undone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
The New Educational Pastorate: Link Workers, Pastoral Power and the Pedagogicalisation of Parenting
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020037 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
Home-school relations, home learning and parental engagement are prominent educational policy issues, constituting one aspect of a wider parenting support agenda that has suffused the landscape of social policy over the last two decades. This article examines a parenting support initiative distinctive for [...] Read more.
Home-school relations, home learning and parental engagement are prominent educational policy issues, constituting one aspect of a wider parenting support agenda that has suffused the landscape of social policy over the last two decades. This article examines a parenting support initiative distinctive for its use of link workers in mobilising ‘hard to reach’ parents to engage more effectively with their children’s education. Drawing on qualitative data gathered during the evaluation of the initiative, the article frames link worker–parent interactions as a form of everyday government and pastoral power. Link workers constitute a new educational pastorate; through friendship, care and control they exercise pastoral power over parents. Building on recent research into the role of ‘pastors’ in producing neoliberal subjectivities within the National Health Service, the article foregrounds their efforts to foster responsible, self-disciplined agency in parents. Link workers, it is argued, contribute to a responsibilisation and pedagogicalisation of the family, which has produced new figures of mothering/parenting, reconfigured the meaning of the home and extended the scope of state intervention into family life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
Towards an Ethico-Aesthetic of Parenting: Sensing Ritornellos of Play with GoPro Data
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020034 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
This article argues for an ethico-aesthetic approach to parenting as an alternative to the neoliberalisation of parenting, and its critiques. This ethico-aesthetic approach focuses on affect and the intensification of collective life. In the article, it is explored in connection to a group [...] Read more.
This article argues for an ethico-aesthetic approach to parenting as an alternative to the neoliberalisation of parenting, and its critiques. This ethico-aesthetic approach focuses on affect and the intensification of collective life. In the article, it is explored in connection to a group of parents and children under six who participated in a play event called Moving with lines and light. As parents, researchers and players who participated in this play event, the authors think together with fragments of GoPro data and the concept of the ritornello. They do this as an exercise in sensing the non-linear time of parenting in/with the play through a prolonged, active and relational process of recollection and narration that combines analogic and technologic events. With these, the authors discuss the parenting body in postdevelopmental modes of existence organized around sense, territory and technicity that propel a thinking of parenting beyond practices of symbolic control, and as living ecologies of action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
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Open AccessArticle
Silenced Motherhood(s): Forbidden Motherings in the Early Childhood Classroom
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020041 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
What is the role of mothering in the early childhood classroom? Given the focus of the field of “professionalization” and “scientific” practices, how might the role of maternal nurturance be woven into our understandings of pedagogies? This paper addresses the disempowerment experienced by [...] Read more.
What is the role of mothering in the early childhood classroom? Given the focus of the field of “professionalization” and “scientific” practices, how might the role of maternal nurturance be woven into our understandings of pedagogies? This paper addresses the disempowerment experienced by an early childhood practitioner when maternal subjectivities and practices are framed as oppositional to the “professionalization” of the field. Through narrative research as a teacher-scholar, I explore my own experiences around my role as “not-mother” in the classroom, looking critically at the interwovenness of mothering and teaching in classroom relationships and communities. Through this narrative examination, I explore the role of maternal relationships in early childhood, in conversation with my practices of mothering as the teacher-not-mother. Through narrative inquiry and analysis, I attempt to make visible the forbidden subjectivities of the not-mother, and her centrality to meaningful early childhood pedagogy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
Open AccessArticle
‘Sexual Orientation’ in Swedish Preschool Policy—What Is the Problem?
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010028 - 17 Mar 2020
Abstract
The present article focuses on how ‘sexual orientation’ is represented and produced in a Swedish preschool policy document regarding discrimination and equal treatment. ‘Poststuctural policy analysis’ is employed, in line with Foucault) and Bacchi. The results show that ‘sexual orientation’ is represented as [...] Read more.
The present article focuses on how ‘sexual orientation’ is represented and produced in a Swedish preschool policy document regarding discrimination and equal treatment. ‘Poststuctural policy analysis’ is employed, in line with Foucault) and Bacchi. The results show that ‘sexual orientation’ is represented as a matter for families, but for parents rather than children. In the plans for equal treatment, visualizing different families stands out as the goal of working preventively against discrimination based on ‘sexual orientation’ in preschool, and the active measures planned for are reading books and spontaneous conversations. The article argues that the discrimination perspective represented in the documents, together with discourses on childhood innocence, establish certain conditions for how ‘sexual orientation’ is produced in preschool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’)
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