The Construction of Maternal Identity Among Nonresidential Mothers in Israel

Gali Tangir, Orna Cohen, Einat Peled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the construction of the maternal identity among Jewish Israeli women whose children are raised by their father in a sociocultural context that valorizes the maternal role in the lives of women. Interpretive interactionist analysis of in-depth interviews with 13 nonresidential mothers identified the discursive strategies that they used to negotiate a troubled maternal identity due to their nonnormative position. The mothers deflected guilt and responsibility for the fact that they do not live with their children. Further, they exhibited two dynamics of maternal identity construction: internalizing the critical discourse and constructing a nonresidential identity as a “good enough” mother. The findings support the view that hegemonic social discourses affect the construction of maternal identity by nonresidential mothers. At the same time, they are also indicative of the creation of an alternative discourse that portrays a nonresidential maternal identity as positive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-530
Number of pages14
JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.

Keywords

  • good mother myth
  • identity
  • motherhood
  • nonresidential mothers

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