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Reproduction of Mothering

  • By: Roberta Guerrina
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Discussions about the “nature” of mothering and the role of social forces in the reproduction of the values entrenched within it go to the heart of current debates about the position of women in the 21st century. In this context, the concept itself takes on a normative dimension, which serves to construct gender power hierarchies. Nancy Chodorow's 1978 book, The Reproduction of Mothering, explores these dynamics in detail, looking at how women learn to be mothers and how their actions reproduce the values associated with this function.

Chodorow and Rich

Chodorow seeks to uncover how the social function of reproduction defines social relations. Starting from the assumption that “women's mothering is one of the few universal and enduring elements of the sexual division of labor,” she ...

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