Does young motherhood put the family ‘in crisis’? An ethnographic investigation into the impact of young motherhood on intergenerational relations within families

Masters Thesis


Buxton, C. 2020. Does young motherhood put the family ‘in crisis’? An ethnographic investigation into the impact of young motherhood on intergenerational relations within families. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Law. Policing and Socal Sciences
AuthorsBuxton, C.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMasters by Research
Abstract

Young motherhood is often framed as a ‘social problem’ by policy, society and media, posing a threat to established ideas about ‘the family’. This framing focuses on young mothers as individual (stereo)types, and does not capture the intergenerational relationships that provide an important context for young motherhood, forming a significant source of tension and/or support. This thesis contributes to an underresearched area, by focussing on relationships between young mothers and their own mothers, in the context of the wider social and moral circumstances of families, reasons behind young motherhood, and the role played by stigma in the construction of young mothers’ identities. This is a qualitative study based on focus group narratives by women who had a child under the age of 21, and their mothers, across the Isle of Thanet. The findings from the MA thesis suggest that intergenerational relationships evolved prior to and following pregnancy, with the child becoming the locus for reimagining life courses. ‘Family’ was reconstructed as ‘new nuclear’, moving away from traditional family constructs, with intimate daily practices crucial to its recasting. Young motherhood is thus considered as an individual experience, where a child can be the reason as a turning point for young women, which can be enhanced by a strong intergenerational support network. The study highlights the importance of family support networks, and contributes to existing research challenging assumptions and young motherhood outcomes and experiences.

KeywordsYoung motherhood; Families; Intergenerational relations
Year2020
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Deposited06 May 2021
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8xq5w/does-young-motherhood-put-the-family-in-crisis-an-ethnographic-investigation-into-the-impact-of-young-motherhood-on-intergenerational-relations-within-families

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