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© 2020

Motherhood, Social Policies and Women's Activism in Latin America

  • Alejandra Ramm
  • Jasmine Gideon
Book

Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

This book is a critical resource for understanding the relationship between gender, social policy and women’s activism in Latin America, with specific reference to Chile. Latin America’s mother-centered kinship system makes it an ideal field in which to study motherhood and maternalism—the ways in which motherhood becomes a public policy issue. As maternalism embraces and enhances gender differences, it has been criticized for deepening gender inequalities. Yet invoking motherhood continues to offer an effective strategy for advancing women’s living conditions and rights, and for women themselves to be present in the public sphere. In analyzing these important relationships, the contributors to this volume discuss maternal health, sexual and reproductive rights, labor programs, paid employment, women miners’ unionization, housing policies, environmental suffering, and LGBTQ intimate partner violence.

Alejandra Ramm is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universidad de Valparaíso and Associate Researcher at the Social Sciences Research Institute (ICSO) at the Universidad Diego Portales (UDP), Chile. 

Jasmine Gideon is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. 

Keywords

motherhood maternalism feminism sexual and reproductive rights women activism women labor programs and unionization maternal health paid employment women miners and unionization housing policies environmental suffering LGBTQ intimate partner violence Latin America Chile kinship system

Editors and affiliations

  • Alejandra Ramm
    • 1
  • Jasmine Gideon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ValparaísoValparaísoChile
  2. 2.Department of GeographyBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

About the editors

Alejandra Ramm is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universidad de Valparaíso and Associate Researcher at the Social Sciences Research Institute (ICSO) at the Universidad Diego Portales (UDP), Chile. 

Jasmine Gideon is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. 

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“This detailed and empirically rich volume brings together contributions that look at maternalism from a variety of angles, underlining the force with which it has shaped social identities, public policies and collective action in Chile. It is a testimony to the pervasiveness, but also to the malleability and ambiguity of maternalist idea(l)s, their historical and sectoral situatedness, their strategic uses and abuses in struggles over gender equality and women’s rights. The conclusion is clear: whether we like it or not, maternalism continues to be a concept and force that feminist research and practice will have to grapple with. As such, the book will be welcomed by both academics and activists in Chile and beyond.” (Silke Staab, UN Women, author of Gender and the Politics of Gradual Change: Social Policy Reform and Innovation in Chile (Palgrave Macmillan 2017))“This theoretically rich collection masterfully analyzes the complex and contested intersection of maternalism, state power, and women’s activism. Through an intensive focus on Chile, the authors explore the historical importance and continuing salience of maternalism in shaping how citizens make demands on the state and the policies and laws produced in response. Grappling with the fraught politics of maternalism, the authors provide new insights into how essentialized understandings of motherhood help reproduce the raced, classed, sexed, and gendered divisions of power in society.” (Gwynn Thomas, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA)

“Embraced or contested, maternalism is embedded in Latin America´s policy and politics. Focusing on the emblematic case of Chile, the editors of this volume bring together a diverse set of conceptual and empirical analyses capable of catapulting forward research and policy agendas addressing the numerous facets of maternalism. For scholars interested in learning about the changes and continuities of the topic across sectors and historical periods, this volume is a must read.” (Juliana Martínez Franzoni, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Políticos, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica)