Organic food and mothers: techniques of neoliberal governmentality and negotiation of multiple discourses of motherhood, risks, and organic food
Soysal Al, İrem (2015) Organic food and mothers: techniques of neoliberal governmentality and negotiation of multiple discourses of motherhood, risks, and organic food. [Thesis]
This thesis is based on a fieldwork consisting of sixteen in-depth interviews with mothers having children younger than seven years old and a discourse analysis of comments and posts on a mother blog. It analyzes following questions: Do the motivations and practices of mothers for feeding their children organic differ from each other?, why and how?; is it considered primarily as the duty of mothers and why?; is organic nurturing of a child a distinctive practice?; do varied forms of organic food experiences in the urban space contribute to the symbolic boundaries within these mothers? Research findings indicate that there are multiple discourses which circulate and constitute the basis of concerns and motivations of mothers for feeding their children organic. The study also reveals that mothers contribute to these discourses not only and simply by reproducing them but also negotiating, transforming and reshaping them as active agents through their own practices in which their own economic and cultural capital, and their social positioning play an important role. It explores their impact on the diversification of perspectives and experiences of organic feeding, and thus points out that these practices are not only gendered but also classed and distinctive. Also, the research elaborates the symbolic boundaries that these practices strengthen, not only by drawing attention to the socio-economic boundaries but also the moral boundaries that organic feeding experiences highlight. Finally, through this case, it demonstrates how managing food security for children becomes a technique of neoliberal governmentality for mothers as a privatized responsibility. It examines how the ideals of selfconscious and sensitive mothers intersect with the organic food and risk discourses, and how intense mothering performances and the affective burden of these ideals are experienced by women.
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