Mothering Through Precarity: Becoming Mamapreneurial

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2015-03-06
Authors
Wilson, Julie A.
Yochim, Emily Chivers
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Keywords
mothers , cruel optimism , neoliberalism , women's work , precarity , digital media
Abstract
This article examines mothers' labours in recessionary culture, elaborating how mothers must become flexible, resilient and enterprising in order to keep their families happy and secure during precarious times. Through an ethnographic account of one mother's unsettled post-recession life, we contend that mothers become mamapreneurial, augmenting their families' incomes and ensuring their prosperity by rationalizing their everyday labours and emotions. Enlisting a range of technologies of appreciation, such as couponing and digitally enabled work-at-home enterprises, mamapreneurs thus embark on a fourth shift of labour, adding onto what Arlie Hochschild calls mothers' ‘second shift’ of domestic administration and ‘third shift’ of emotional management. Demonstrating how mamapreneurialism promises to soothe the volatilities and impossibilities of family in precarious times by reconstituting all of life as an instrumentalized web of affective labour, we ultimately argue that it constitutes a relation of cruel optimism that channels mothers' labours into the very systems that guarantee neoliberal precarity.
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Communication Arts & Theatre
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Copyright © Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.
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Wilson, Julie Ann and Emily Chivers Yochim. 2015. "Mothering Through Precarity." Cultural Studies 29, no. 5-6: 669-686.
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Published Article
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Routledge
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