- Paternalizing mothers: feminist repertoires in contemporary Dutch civilizing offensives
- Critical Social Policy
- Volume | Issue number
- 32 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
The stress in Dutch policy texts and policy practices on the emancipation of migrant women from their family and spouses goes hand in hand with a focus on precisely women’s role within the family: that of the mother. In this paper, we ask the question how this is possible. We aim to shed light on this question by understanding contemporary policy texts and policy practices in the context of 1) a strong domestic motherhood ideology and 2) a Dutch tradition of paternalism. These tensions between notions of autonomy and emancipation from the family and marriage on the one hand, and motherhood on the other hand, lead to paradoxical practices of teaching migrant women to become emancipated within their role as mothers. Feminist discursive repertoires are put to work in paternalist policy practices that focus on autonomy in particular ways. In this article, we analyse these notions in policy discourses and in practices that we recorded in ethnographic research in parenting courses in Rotterdam.
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