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Nurses and constructions of motherhood: 'scientific motherhood' and the rise of child welfare services in Tasmania 1918-1930

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Brennan, SN (1995) Nurses and constructions of motherhood: 'scientific motherhood' and the rise of child welfare services in Tasmania 1918-1930. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Motherhood is a momentous life-change for women. While commonalities of
experience exist between women, each woman's experience is unique. Social
constructions define motherhood in particular ways and in doing so tend to
deny the range and complexity of individual experience. In recent decades a
wide body of feminist and other literature has developed which analyses the
way motherhood has been historically constructed and what this means for
women. This thesis concentrates upon the ways in which early twentieth
century Australians, in common with their counterparts in North America,
New Zealand and the United Kingdom, constructed 'scientific motherhood'.
The perspective and method of history are used in this work to explore the
construction of scientific motherhood. In particular, the establishment of the
Tasmanian Child Welfare Service is examined, for the origins of this service
are closely linked to the requirement that information be disseminated
throughout the population about modem 'scientific' mothering. Therefore, this thesis looks at the historical development of this service, at how it grew
out of a late 19th century veneration of science as well as concerns regarding population and the position of women in society. It shows the influences lying behind the construction of motherhood as a science and outlines the
art played by child health services in bringing this new, as it was perceived
at the time, view of rational and efficient mothering to women.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Additional Information:

Copyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2012 03:30
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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