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Tue 8th October 2013

Summer Scholarship Project – The Non-Voluntary Loss of Post-Separation Maternal Time

Filed under: Gender Politics,General — MurrayBacon @ 9:15 pm

The Non-Voluntary Loss of Post-Separation Maternal Time
Department of Sociology
Summer Scholarship Project

Project Supervisor Senior Lecturer Vivienne Elizabeth
________________________________________

Project Description
________________________________________
Experiences of post-separation family transitions are becoming increasingly commonplace and, in some instances, are fraught with power-laden tensions and emotions. In the last ten to twenty years, the post World War 2 convention of mother sole custody and care of children has given way to ostensibly gender-neutral notions of joint custody and joint care, as greater emphasis is placed on fathers’ ongoing involvement with children post-separation, and mothers and fathers are increasingly seen as interchangeable parents.
The contemporary socio-legal context thus paves the way for mothers, even full time stay-at-home mothers, to lose significant amounts of care time with their children, and even to find themselves in the role of contact or non-resident parent. The post-separation loss of significant amounts of maternal care time is at odds with a number of dimensions of contemporary family life. First, most intact heterosexual families exhibit a strong gendered division of labour, which sees mothers taking on the primary parenting role while fathers continue to be primarily oriented to paid work and breadwinning. Second, good motherhood is culturally defined in terms of an intimate physical and psychological bond with children, a bond that is heavily reliant on the co-presence of mothers and children for its creation and maintenance. Third, and relatedly, the physical and psychological wellbeing of children, especially young children, is culturally linked to the caring and protective work undertaken by mothers.
However, very little is known about the circumstances and experiences of mothers who lose significant amounts of care time with their children following parental separation. Under what circumstances do mothers lose significant amounts of care-time with their children? What role do fathers play in this process? What effect does this loss of care-time have on mothers’ parenting practices, their relationship to their children, and their self-identities and overall well-being? What strategies do these mothers adopt to withstand the negative repercussions of the loss of care-time for their children, for themselves, and for their wider kin group?
This project will take the form of a preliminary examination of these questions through a small number of semi-structured interviews with mothers who have lost significant amounts of care-time with their children. The study by will be informed by contemporary discussions about the transformation of family life and relationships in late-modernity.

Work Expected of the Scholar
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This project builds on previous work undertaken by Vivienne Elizabeth, Julia Tolmie and Nicola Gavey on mothers’ experiences of custody disputes. The summer scholar will be expected to prepare an updated literature review, with a particular focus on mothers who have become contact or non-resident parents. They will also assist with key data-gathering processes: interviewing mothers (either jointly with me or by themselves), transcribing the interviews and undertaking initial thematic analysis of the interviews. During these data-gathering processes, the student will be encouraged to discuss and reflect on their observations and understandings of the field.

Skills Desired
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Students who apply for this Summer Scholarship should have taken courses in the social sciences that focus on gender and/or family life. Students should know how to find and locate academic literature through library-based searches. Preferably, students will have had some exposure to qualitative research methods, either through research methods courses or through their own independent research. An interest in research on domestic violence would be an advantage. On a personal level, the ideal student for this project will have good listening skills and be highly empathetic.

Benefits to the Scholar
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Because the Summer Scholar will be joining the project during its early phases, they will develop a number of key insights into the research process and gain a number of specific benefits from their participation:
“¢They will hone their literature searching and analytical skills;
“¢They will learn how to conduct semi-structured interviews in a thoughtful and empathetic manner;
“¢They will develop skills in transcribing interviews;
“¢They will learn how to identify key themes within interviews and to inductively build a coding schema;
“¢They will also learn how to turn key themes from the interviews into a conference paper or journal article

Apply Online Now (Although the closing date has now passed.) $5000 for 400 hours

6 Responses to “Summer Scholarship Project – The Non-Voluntary Loss of Post-Separation Maternal Time”

  1. Downunder says:

    This project will take the form of a preliminary examination of these questions through a small number of semi-structured interviews with mothers who have lost significant amounts of care-time with their children. The study by will be informed by contemporary discussions about the transformation of family life and relationships in late-modernity.

    Mothers who
    ‘lost’
    ‘significant amounts of care time’
    with their children where most likely incapable of parenting fulltime.

    And this will be representitive of why fathers shouldn’t look after children.

  2. kumar says:

    @1 # I agree with Downunder.

  3. Mits says:

    the post World War 2 convention of mother sole custody and care of children has given way to ostensibly gender-neutral notions of joint custody and joint care, as greater emphasis is placed on fathers’ ongoing involvement
    What a load of codswallop, my experience is that the femily caught is anything but gender-neutral, joint custody only happens if mothers agree and this is tempered by how much child tax they will receive. And there is sweet FA emphasis on a fathers ongoing involvement unless he fights a loaded system to achieve it.
    I agree also with downunder that a mother losing signifigant amounts of care time probably has issues which caused the loss. Where a father losing it is the norm

  4. MurrayBacon says:

    $5,000/400 hours < minimum wage. I am not sure if this has any legal ramifications?

    I guess it is all right for feminists to pay less than the minimum wage to women students, on the basis that there is an element of training being provided. This also helps to cultivate a class of women policy analysts who only expect to be paid barely the minimum wage and really are only suitable as heterosexual marriage fodder?

    Legal workers used to have the record for being mean and miserly with their own trainees, but I guess they have been trumped by our better 0.5001s.

    I would like people to observe that among women there is quite a lot of dissatisfaction with familycaught$.

    Having listened to a number of women relating their experiences, I could have suggested several more complaints, that they had not vocalised. If they asked, I would have told them the additional issues, that I believed they should also be complaining about. Some were future costs, that may or may not be realised, depending on their future circumstances. I have seen these possibilities bite and know how unpleasant they can be, when they fully understand what has happened to them.

    It left me with a strong feeling that familycaught$, in the widest sense, serves only itself and not many women either. If we could work with women's groups, to find a sensible, child protective, constructive middle ground, then the familycaught$ could be left to starve to death, still with their gavels and gowns.

    If I may ask a question, if someone is collecting and studying women’s collective experiences with familycaught$, should anyone be carrying out similar studies of father’s experiences with familycaught$?

    Would it be more valuable to collect “parents” experiences, or to collect experiences in a sex segregated fashion?

  5. Downunder says:

    There is a minimum wage and a starting wage in the three month period. It used to be $12.50 and $13.50. I think the $13.50 was raised recently but I am not sure about the $12.50 but I suspect this is where it comes from.

  6. Allan Harvey says:

    This sounds like wonderful and valuable research. Might it ever cross Ms Elizabeth, Tolmie and Gavey that father may have had influences on their “parenting practices, their relationship to their children, and their self-identities and overall well-being” by these post WWII conventions as well.
    Frankly I’m not sure how their analysis copes with industrial revolution to post WWII marginalisation of men in a parenting role but clearly they either have not considered this period or they are as poor history and sociology scholars as I am.

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