Mothering in the Context of Poverty: Disciplining Peruvian Mothers through Children’s Rights
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Type of Work13 pages
Citation of Original PublicationAufseeser, D. (2019). Mothering in the Context of Poverty: Disciplining Peruvian Mothers through Children’s Rights. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 3(1-2), 13. https://doi.org/10.20897/femenc/5919
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This article explores discourses surrounding poverty and mothering in the context of Peru. It specifically suggests that claims in the name of children’s rights provide a more morally acceptable way to discipline economically disadvantaged mothers. Mothers are framed as ‘bad parents’ when their children fail to experience so-called ‘global childhoods’, spent in school and the home, and not in paid work. However, in Andean culture, children begin working alongside their parents at a young age as they learn to become active members in society. Rather than recognising motherhood as socially constructed, internationally-funded NGOs and government officials emphasise a need to teach mothers about the cultural dangers of work. However, I suggest that in doing so, poverty is reframed as a cultural problem, of which mothers are to blame. This overlooks significant economic inequality as well as different conceptions of motherhood and childhood. The article examines how mothers negotiate competing demands in the context of discourses of global childhood, and is based on field work conducted over 14 months in 2009 and 2010, with follow up research in 2011 and 2014.
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