Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 135–152 | Cite as

Managing The Lactating Body: The Breast-Feeding Project and Privileged Motherhood

Original Paper

Abstract

Drawing on interviews with twenty-five mostly white, educated, work-force experienced and class-privileged mothers, this paper explores how these women construct the lactating body as a carefully managed site and breast-feeding as a project—a task to be researched, planned, implemented, and assessed, with reliance on expert knowledge, professional advice, and consumption. The framing of breast-feeding as a project contrasts with the emphases on pleasure, embodied subjectivity, relationality, and empowerment that characterizes much of the recent breast-feeding literature across the humanities and social sciences. I argue that the project frame sheds light on the amount of work and self-discipline involved in compliance with broader middle-class mothering standards set in the consumerist, technological, medicalized, and professionalized contexts that shape parenting in late capitalist America.

Keywords

Breast-feeding Mothering Parenting experts Body management Medicalization 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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