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Publisher: SAGE Publications
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: HM, AZ, H1, HQ, JC, G1, B1
Through an analysis of policy texts, population statistics and a targeted sample from the popular press, this paper both furthers knowledge about changing meanings of working motherhood in the contemporary US, and proposes a refinement to existing conceptual work relating to how wage-work and care-work are combined. I focus analysis on recent US social policy which grants new rights and protections for women seeking to combine lactation and wage-work (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2011). I critique this policy through Bernise Hausman’s work on the politics of motherhood, arguing that it represents a form of work-life integration that is particularly burdensome for working mothers. I further argue that maternal practice as well as well as expectations of working motherhood in the contemporary US are being reshaped around the demands of neoliberalism, producing what I term ‘neoliberal motherhood’. I assert that this policy represents a way of combining wage-work and care-work that is not captured within existing feminist theory, and suggest that a re-working of theory in this area is needed in order to address cases in which embodied care-work is enfolded within the time and space of wage-work.
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