ABSTRACTProfessional career women often find themselves caught in a dialectic ideological tension between fulfilling the demands of full-time motherhood and the expectations associated with their professional career. The stories of 10 middle-class, stay-at-home mothers from Singapore who had previously worked within commercial organisations are presented. Their narratives are collected through a series of phenomenological interviews and the use of a visual construction method. The findings unravel the complexities surrounding the women's enactment of culturally constructed good mothering, weaving a path between their conflicting sense of home-bound maternal duty and their aspiration for self-reliance.As stay-at-home mothers, the participants variously engage in entrepreneurial and self-development projects. Their families outsource an array of care responsibilities to business establishments outside the home, challenging the conventional notion of home, and in some cases, commercialising their intimate family life. The women, seeking to negotiate tensions between the home-based maternal duties and aspiration for independence, assimilate their occupational sense of self into motherhood to construct images of a competent and effective parent. The professionalisation of motherhood emerges as a way for the participants to reframe good mothering, blurring the rigid boundaries between paid work ideology and motherhood expectations.The findings highlight the women's interplay of diverse and interrelated sense of selves at the personal, relational, and collective level in the co-constitution of good motherhood. The identity interplay processes illuminate how the women's heterogeneous self-definitions coexist, compete, and cooperate in their everyday experiences of doing motherhood, which moves away from the traditional paradigm that conceives identity as an individuated entity, in relation to prevalent discourses within Singaporean society centring on a politically-driven struggle for gender equality. The thesis concludes by presenting its contributions and implications at the theoretical, managerial, and policy levels.
|Date of Award||1 Aug 2017|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Emma Banister (Supervisor) & Kerrane (Supervisor)|
- Singapore consumer, customer network
- Co-construction of identity, Motherhood, Consumer identity construction