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Lives lived together and apart: A mother and daughter talk fifteen years later

Women's Studies International Forum, May 2011, Vol.34(3), pp.185-194 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Lives lived together and apart: A mother and daughter talk fifteen years later
  • Author: Gustafson, Diana ; Elliott, Amy
  • Contributor: Gustafson, Diana (correspondence author)
  • Found In: Women's Studies International Forum, May 2011, Vol.34(3), pp.185-194 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Mothers ; Divorce ; Children ; Parent Child Relations ; Family ; Conflict ; Discourse ; Subjectivity ; Reflexivity ; Feminist/Gender Studies; Feminist Studies ; Article
  • Language: English
  • Description: Drawing on story-telling conventions, a mother and daughter engage in an intimate conversation about the effects of divorce, family reconfiguration and maternal absence on a woman, her dependent child and the mother-adult child relationship. In choosing this autonarrative approach, mother and adult daughter wrote a moment in their personal history that privileges subjectivity, reflexivity and voice. Their subsequent analysis of the narrative revealed that the mother's story became the plot line for the daughter's story with both storylines formed, in part, in relation to the reconstitution of the family. The narrative challenges the familiar dramatic-traumatic script of divorce and the persistent, if unfounded, assumption that children (especially daughters) are negatively affected by maternal absence during their formative years. The narrative also highlights the gendered and naturalizing discourse of maternal obligation and responsibilities as well as the relational work between mother and daughter. Poignantly revealed are the fluidity of perspectives, shifting points of tension, and the subtle back and forth negotiation of talk about divorce, reconstitution of family, nonresidential mothering and the impact of these conflicts on their lives together and apart, then and now. [Copyright Elsevier Ltd.]
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0277-5395 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2010.12.004

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