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Disrupted identities : narratives of mothers in prison

Lockwood, KA

Disrupted identities : narratives of mothers in prison Thumbnail



T Taylor

K Bloch


Imprisonment can severely alter, disrupt or even terminate mothering. Yet, often seen by society as giving up on or abandoning their children, women in prison tend to invoke less empathy or tolerance than women whose mothering is disrupted through other means, such as illness. Therefore, whilst many women in prison attach great significance to the role and responsibilities of motherhood, the restrictions of the prison environment impacting the ability to participate in mothering, compounded by a sense of guilt, failure, stigma, shame and role strain can pose a direct threat to the mothering identities of women in prison. Central to the research from which this chapter has developed was the challenge of making sense of the constructed meaning of motherhood for women in prison. Drawing on feminist narrative approaches, significance is placed not only on the content of stories but equally on the social role of the story told (Plummer, 1995). Three key and interrelated narratives are highlighted; ‘Difficult Disclosures’; ‘Double Edged Sword’ and ‘Who Cares’. This chapter concludes by considering the implications of the research for policy and practice and how through exploring the stories of mothers in prison we are able to hear about and value a diversity of mothers’ lives, so these mothers do not have to inhabit the margins of motherhood.


Lockwood, K. (2018). Disrupted identities : narratives of mothers in prison. In T. Taylor, & K. Bloch (Eds.), Marginalized mothers, mothering from the margins. Emerald Publishing

Publication Date Oct 8, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 19, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2020
Series Title Advances in Gender Research
Book Title Marginalized mothers, mothering from the margins
ISBN 9781787564008
Related Public URLs,-Mothering-from-the-Margins/?k=9781787564008
Additional Information Projects : Doctoral study - Mothering from the inside: narratives of motherhood and imprisonment


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