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Environments and Mothering

  • By: Danielle Roth-Johnson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The relationships between environments and mothering practices are quite variable and complex. A survey of the anthropological and sociological studies that focus on mothering (or caregiving, since mothering may be performed by females other than the child's biological mother, as well as males) quickly reveals that practices around the world are diverse and are very much influenced by geographical, sociohistorical, and economic environments.

Most of the discourse that focuses on the relationships between motherhood (caregiving) and the environment can be grouped into two major categories: first, the historical/sociocultural studies that include analyses of environmental variations in mothering practices and their subsequent effects on the socialization of children; and second, the impact of economic environments upon mothering practices.

Sociocultural Environments and History

One of the major debates surrounding ...

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