Kate Boyer, "Becoming Parent: Affect, Materiality and Mobility"

Kate Boyer, "Becoming Parent: Affect, Materiality and Mobility"

Sage Lab 3510

September 10, 2014 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

The transition to parenthood typically marks a profound change to one’s sense of self and ways of engaging with the world. This paper examines the ‘shock’ of new parenthood by considering the work of journey-making for new parents in the first year post-birth. I approach this through an engagement with feminist/new materialist social theory (Alaimo and Hekman, 2008; Braidotti, 2002; Barad, 2008; Colebrook, 2008; Coole and Frost, 2010). Drawing on this work, I consider the material intra-actions, socio-technical assemblages and affective environments that emerge in the course of journey-making for new parents, and consider how the above-noted shape new parents’ understandings of self. Drawing on the travel experiences of 20 new parents in East London, I posit early parenthood as a state of deterritorialization in which individuals “become strange” to themselves (Ahmed, 2010: 581), having become unmoored from both established ways of engaging with the world and understandings of self; and needing to establish radically different forms of collaborations with and within the material landscape.

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