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Sociology of Motherhood

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

The sociology of motherhood is a field of sociology that examines gender, family, and parenting, with primary emphasis on motherhood. Over time, numerous trends have emerged within the sociology of motherhood. Some of these themes, which are summarized below, include motherhood and the sociology of gender; motherhood as an experience and an institution; motherhood ideologies; motherhood and separate spheres; motherhood and paid employment; caregiving practices; and challenging notions of universal motherhood.

Motherhood and the Sociology of Gender

Changing perspectives about motherhood—from motherhood as innate to motherhood as socially constructed—emphasize assumptions about motherhood and family life; they also parallel shifts in how sociologists study and understand gender. Galvanized by the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s, scholars began to challenge essentialist arguments that considered gender innate ...

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