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Social Construction of Motherhood

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

The approach that motherhood is a social construction rejects the assumption that practices of mothering, traits of mothers, and meanings of motherhood are in any way natural, biological, essential or inevitable. Rather, it implies that the ways of perceiving and experiencing motherhood in society are the result of processes of social construction. In other words, motherhood is thought of as something that is constantly being made by members of society. This happens, for example, through everyday interactions, discourses, and social practice.

Thinking of motherhood as a social construction does not mean, however, that it is less real. In fact, the key questions of social constructionist approaches are: How does something get real, how is it made real, how does reality achieve its status of being ...

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