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ERIC Number: EJ815569
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0954-0253
Melancholic Mothering: Mothers, Daughters and Family Violence
Kenway, Jane; Fahey, Johannah
Gender and Education, v20 n6 p639-654 Nov 2008
Through selected theories of melancholia, this paper seeks to shed some fresh interpretive light on the reproduction and disruption of gender, violence and family turmoil across generations of mothers and daughters. The originality of the paper lies in its exploratory deployment of theories of melancholia to consider issues of women, violence and generation. It addresses these matters through a discussion of the intergenerational emotional archives accumulated by two mother-daughter pairs in relation to their different experiences of sexual and other violence. It shares the mothers' experiences of violence in their childhood and shows how these help to shape the ways in which they raise their daughters and address the troubles that their daughters experience. Different theories of melancholia assist us to explain the dissimilar emotional dynamics between these mother and daughter pairs. But equally their stories suggest the analytical potential of different theories of melancholia for understanding women's and girls' diverse responses to violence. Freud's, Irigaray's and Silverman's constructions of melancholia, which are to some extent based on notions of emptiness, lack and insufficiency, are deployed alongside Eng and Kazanjian's interpretation of a melancholic state of being which focuses on the creative potential of animating the remains of loss; an interpretation that invokes an agential relationship to the losses that violence provokes. The former help to explain what Eng and Kazanjian might see as the "hopeless politics" associated with certain melancholic responses to violence and the latter help to explain what they might consider more "hopeful politics" associated with responses that mobilise a more agential relationship to loss. Although not subscribing to such a stark binary interpretation, we nonetheless argue for an analysis that acknowledges the different ways that the remains of loss are animated. The paper arises from a wider cross-generational study in Australia of the lives of educationally, economically and culturally marginalised young women and their mothers. (Contains 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia