Academic Articles

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(Pseudo)motherhood, care constructs and the geography of the nuclear family: class, gender and the suburbs in contemporary fiction

Kirsty Capes

2017

Existing research on gender in the suburbs draws on geography and feminist theory to demonstrate patriarchal constructs within (sub)urban spaces. Western suburban landscapes are fundamentally underpinned by the most entrenched patriarchal constructs. Existing research on gender in the suburbs draws on geography and feminist theory to demonstrate patriarchal constructs within (sub)urban spaces. Western suburban landscapes are fundamentally underpinned by the most entrenched patriarchal constructs of modern society: the nuclear family, the workplace, motherhood, housewifery and marriage. These constructs are enforced in domestic spaces and evident in fiction. My research will examine the role of the mother, or the mother figure, within suburban settings, focusing on non-traditional maternal figures, such as foster / adoptive mothers, female relatives as primary carers, institutional care and orphanages. As spaces change, so do the demographic makeups of suburban neighbourhoods, and the poster will also discuss intersections of gender, race and social mobility in fiction, and my own novel which forms part of my PhD thesis: a work of working-class, feminist, suburban fiction which examines motherhood through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl in foster care.