Project Description

What does motherhood mean today in a society with an advanced but negotiated welfare system? The question is intimately related to notions of gender equality and welfare regimes, and the aim of the project is to examine multiple narratives with Sweden as a case study. Key research questions are: What does motherhood mean in a welfare state within a global context? When, how and why is motherhood described as disenabling or empowering for women? The dominant discourse today references middle-class, ethnic Swedes and is accompanied by the image of the dedicated mother immersed in caring for her child. It renders invisible other maternity standards that reflect contemporary transformations. Multicultural Sweden exists in a global environment with considerable immigration levels. Factors such as diverse family structures and contradictory notions about whether and how to be a mother need to be recognized. A wide range of sources will be examined, such as literary fiction, patient narratives, life writing, autobiography, and web-based blogs.

The project involves collaboration between researchers in medicine, literature and gender studies. The interdisciplinary design enables methodological and theoretical border-crossings. The literary scholars will have access to authentic, narrated experiences by female patients. The medical scientists will incorporate cultural, narratological and gender perspectives into their analyses.

About the Project

Project Duration



The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).

Last modified: 2023-06-30