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Paradox Of Natural Mothering Paperback – November 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press; 1 edition (November 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566399076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566399074
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chris Bobel, an associate professor of women's studies at the University of Massachusetts, takes a sociologist's eye and a feminist's heart to her study of a certain kind of parenting in The Paradox of Natural Motherhood. Through case studies of five women and interviews with dozens more, Bobel explores (admiringly and critically) how modern women can make seemingly old-fashioned choices to be full-time moms, to home-school their children or to practice alternative medicine.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Motherhood in America is a paradox--sentimentalized--devalued at once. The 'natural mothers' Bobel researched show us not just their particular resolutions of the paradox, but clarify the larger problems of mothering in this difficult world. Bobel has made a wonderful contribution to our understanding of American motherhood in all its forms." --Barbara Katz Rothman, Professor of Sociology, CUNY and author of Recreating Motherhood "Chris Bobel, an associate professor of women's studies at the University of Massachusetts, takes a sociologist's eye and a feminist's heart to her study of a certain kind of parenting in The Paradox of Natural Motherhood. Through case studies of five women and interviews with dozens more, Bobel explores (admiringly and critically) how modern women can make seemingly old-fashioned choices to be full-time moms, to home-school their children or to practice alternative medicine." --Publishers Weekly "Through respectful interviews and thoughtful analysis, Chris Bobel has produced a an intriguing study of mothers who engage in home schooling, alternative health care and other 'natural' maternal practices for the sake of their children and in the hope bringing about political change. A fascinating and disturbing book." --Sara Ruddick, author of Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace "With insight and passion, Chris Bobel shows how 'natural mothers' struggle to justify choices that may seem rebellious but are nevertheless socially constructed. By uncovering the paradoxes facing those who adopt traditional definitions of motherhood as most women search for ways to balance family life with pursuits outside the home, she illuminates the tensions, contradictions, and limitations facing all contemporary women. This is a finely crafted, timely, and fascinating study." --Kathleen Gerson, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, New York University and author of Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood. "This is a well written, insightful and in-depth exploration of natural mothering. The reconciling of natural mothering with feminism is just one of many fascinating themes discussed by author Chris Bobel." --Linda Breen Pierce, author of Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World "In addition to providing a first-rate ethnographic account of women who have embraced devotion to family, The Paradox of Natural Mothering uses feminist theory as a bridge to social movement theory to reveal the political implications of the identity-oriented and embodied strategies used by many activist groups attempting to redefine dominant constructions of femininity and masculinity. This engaging, insightful, and compassionate book is a must read for students of gender and social movements." --Verta Taylor, Ohio State University

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I found this book exceptionally interesting even though I will never be a mother myself because I am a man.
danhw6
It was definitely one of the best books that I've found on parenting, and I've even passed it on to my husband to read!
Sandy
While I found the title confusing, the topics, interviews and general propositions were fascinating and engaging.
Judy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Salazar on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed in this book. First, it reads like the dissertation it was (in a "first we covered blah blah, now we will explore blah blah" style) with some band-aid editing to make it more accessible to the non-academic reader. The interviews of courageous women (who buck mainstream parenting, schools, shopping malls and other sacred American institutions)are worth the price of the book, but once Bobel moves from the descriptive to the persuasive, I'm not impressed. She asserts that "natural mom" suffer from a delusion of self-determinism, that their lifestyle choices are made on a reliance on "feeling" and on Nature (which has replaced the Patriarchy as a controlling power in these women's lives), yet Bobel conveniently overlooks the very critical *thinking* decisions made by these women regarding their medical care, diet, and anti-consumerism. The book is loaded with annotations, references, and research, but makes no mention of neurobiology and its recent influence on feminist discussions. She studies her "informants" as if they were a quaint cult of retro-hippies and questions what they are doing for feminism by trying to rear children in such an alternative way. Also, Bobel observes that men seem to be on the periphery of natural parenting, but she doesn't interview any men, or compare them to mainstream male parents (who, she says, get to bottle-feed their infants--goody for them, say I, as my "alternative natural" spouse rocks our infant so I can write this review online!) A provacative book, nonetheless--it kept my spouse and I up at night discussing the multifarious issues it raises. But the real paradox of this book is while it claims to objectively reveal a subculture and raise some important women's issues, it mostly reveals the author's biases, literary, feminist, and political.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By andrea on January 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the way mothers shape, resist and reflect our society. It takes a complex look at a group of mothers whom Bobel identifies as 'natural mothers' and how their style of mothering both resists and submits to 'conventional' parenting and societal norms. Well written and extremely interesting, The Paradox of Natural Mothering also gives the reader an introduction to many 'alternative' ways of mothering, including family bed, extended breast feeding and home schooling. An excellent book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judy on December 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While away with my husband on our first no-child weekend, I devoured this book on the beach. While I found the title confusing, the topics, interviews and general propositions were fascinating and engaging. Also, as a new Mom who struggles with the perennial balance between work, motherhood, and precious and rare time for self and marriage, I found so much of this book to be supportive. Moms are always grappling with the 'right thing to do' and this book carried me a long way both emotionally and intellectually.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sandy on January 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a new mother and have spent a lot of time searching the web for parenting books. I came by this book by chance and ordered it immediately. Although I don't agree with everything the author says, I think she does a really good job of presenting the mothers who she talked to in a really fair way, and the book kept me interested from start to finish. I learned a lot about mothering, and about how the choices I make as a mother affect the rest of the world. It was definitely one of the best books that I've found on parenting, and I've even passed it on to my husband to read!
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