Mothers and Their Children

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This book presents a fresh approach to the analysis of childrearing a topic on which there is a surfeit of opinions and advice but little sociological research and analysis. By focusing on mothers' own understandings of their childrearing, the author reveals how differences in childrearing are rooted in fundamental ideas about the nature of social life and the place of the individual and the family within it. Jane Ribbens' challenging and accessible discussion covers the broad cultural concepts of family, individuality and the nature of childhood. She analyses the implications of mothers' ideas about these concepts for key childrearing preoccupations of time, discipline and the independence of children. An important theme that emerges is the diversity behind the image of the 'ordinary family'. Drawing on empirical evidence of mothers' concerns and understanding of childrearing, the author illustrates how issues of power and the public/private divide are negotiated in the daily lives of mothers and their children. Mothers and Their Children encompasses both vivid portraits of the lives and concerns of mothers, and an enlightening discussion of key sociological concepts and debates. It will be of central interest to students of sociology, family studies, women's studies, and developmental psychology, as well as to professionals directly involved in issues of childrearing and family life.

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