Moulding an emancipatory discourse: How mothers recovering from addiction build their own discourse

Keren Gueta, Moshe Addad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated how mothers in different stages of recovery from addiction negotiate their identities along this process. We mapped the discursive fields in which those mothers act and the subject-positions available to them. The first discourse in this field was the popular discourse that according to it addicted mothers are compared to 'monsters'. Another discourse was the institutional discourse that stems from the milieu in which the women were treated. The discourse analysis demonstrated that the participants did not automatically accept the institutional discourse, but rather constructed a new identity based on several different discourses, borrowed from other treatment models demonstrating resilience, creativity and adaption to their unique experience. This reconstruction of identity served as an alternative to the 'monstrous mother' identity imposed on them by the popular discourse. The findings support the view that while social forces shape individual identity, individuals also create their own agency through language, relationships and cultural attributes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author received financial support from the Israel Anti-Drug Authority and President fellowship for excellent PhD students, Bar-Ilan University. Prof. Moshe Addad, holds the Israel Prize in Criminology Research.


  • Addiction
  • Discourse
  • Narcotics anonymous
  • Self-medication
  • Therapeutic community
  • Women


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