In their own performance: an ethnographic study of mothers’ accounts of interactions with professionals at a children’s centre.
|dc.contributor.author||Tumelty, Bridget Patricia|
|dc.description||A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of the Professional Doctorate in Health & Wellbeing.|
|dc.description.abstract||This study is concerned with how mothers, who have been referred to a children’s centre for support with parenting, interpret their interactions with professionals including midwives, health visitors, social workers and family support workers. Previous studies have concentrated on unhelpful, “them and us” othering practices, this project aimed to consider mothers’ interpretations of interactions, exploring verbal and non-verbal interactions as well as identifying what interactions with professionals that were helpful or not and why? To explore mothers’ stories, I designed an arts based performance ethnographic methodology. Through the use of theme boards and stream of consciousness writing in a drama group context, text was collected over an eighteen month period from 16 mothers. Initial review, editing and distilling of text was carried out with participants, generating 18 scenes for a play performed together in front of a live audience. Text not used in the play was further analysed using narrative analysis and produced an overarching metaphor of a ‘dance of compliance’. The dance explores images of mothers navigating steps of vulnerability, risk and compliance. Inhabiting the dance were many overlapping victimizing narratives exposing stories of parenting support presented as life enhancing in a context of scarcity. I found that the women kept dancing not because they were empowered but because the dance is obligatory, driven by the systematic production of unhelpful signs that come to constitute their reality. Theoretical perspective/s used in analysis highlight how children’s centres could become a space for symbolic exchanges of support bringing into the light steps of fortitude and humanity. Recommendations for practice centre on the need for professionals to engage in empathic interactions whist always looking for opportunities for mothers to participate in the day to day activities of parenting support.|
|dc.subject||them and us|
|dc.title||In their own performance: an ethnographic study of mothers’ accounts of interactions with professionals at a children’s centre.|
|dc.type||Thesis or dissertation|