NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ764279
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 70
ISSN: ISSN-0954-0253
Mothers' Emotional Care Work in Education and Its Moral Imperative
O'Brien, Maeve
Gender and Education, v19 n2 p159-177 Mar 2007
This paper seeks to build on feminist and egalitarian critiques of the traditional allocation of care work to mothers, particularly in relation to understandings of educational care work. It seeks to locate the emotional support work carried out by mothers in the educational field within their daily routines of care, and to make visible the inalienable nature of this gendered work. The paper draws on key findings from an in-depth qualitative study carried out with a sample of 25 mothers in Ireland. It explores mothers' perspectives and understandings of emotional caring within their diverse social positionings, at the time of their children's transfer to second-level education. The findings suggest that mothers, irrespective of their differences, are subject to a moral order of care that necessitates the performance of a great deal of emotional work. This moral imperative is ubiquitous, operating through deeply internalized gender ideologies, and mothers' understandings of care as love. It cements mothers as moral workers, which frees men for other activities. This is a serious issue for women's equality and development, one that must be heard beyond the private space of the home, one that must claim space in public discourse, including the field of education. (Contains 2 tables and 4 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland