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Storying mothering: narrative and psychosocial approaches

Elliott, MH; (2016) Storying mothering: narrative and psychosocial approaches. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis aims to contribute to current psycho-social and narrative debates by taking forward methodological understanding of how researchers can engage with what is unspoken, as well as what is articulated, in people’s stories. It achieves this by re-visiting, through analytic commentary, four published papers based on two bodies of work and by exploring the substantive area of the transition to motherhood through this methodological aim. Three of the papers (Elliott et al. 2009; Elliott 2011 and Elliott et al. 2012) come from a collaborative psycho-social narrative study of first time motherhood, Becoming a Mother: Identities in Process (Hollway and Phoenix, 2008). The fourth paper, 'The Use of Diaries in Sociological Research on Health Experience' (Elliott 1997) reports methodological work from a study of need and demand for primary healthcare among people with chronic health problems. In the integrative summary of the papers I argue that there is a disjuncture between cultural prescriptions about motherhood and some mothers’ experiences, that it is particularly hard to articulate positions outside dominant narratives and these positions can be illuminated through an attention to practices and the detail of women’s lives. Each of the papers analysed here has at its heart narrative ‘small stories’ which reflect the struggles to articulate and produce a self for a listener and for listeners to listen to and understand that self. I argue that, in moments of discomfort, surprise or shame, produced in research interviews, taken for granted or unexamined understandings can become dislodged and new insights become possible.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Storying mothering: narrative and psychosocial approaches
Event: UCL
Language: English
Keywords: mothering; psycho-social; narrative
UCL classification: UCL > School of Education
UCL > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482255
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