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Belly casts and placenta pills: refiguring postmaternal entrepreneurialism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-467
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number90
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Nov 2016
DatePublished (current) - 20 Mar 2017


This article takes at its starting point the idea that maternalism and entrepreneurialism are necessarily antithetical as Julie Stephens argues in Confronting Postmaternal Thinking: Feminism, Memory, and Care [2012. New York: Columbia University Press]. Building on scholarship which shows how motherhood has become commercialised and commodified in contemporary culture, we extend this field by investigating how mothers who are providers of services to other mothers and pregnant women are negotiating neoliberalism and entrepreneurialism. Through an empirical investigation of birth and parenting entrepreneurs–including hypnobirthing classes and placenta pill businesses–in Bristol, UK we argue that our self-employed participants were building community and care economies within neoliberal modes of self-production, thus suggesting a more complex and ambivalent relationship between entrepreneurialism and postmaternalism. We suggest that the experiences of women entrepreneurs or ‘mumpreneurs’ offer insights into how the spaces of work might be, counter to Stephens’ characterisation, places of negotiation and struggle for the politics of feminism, rather than sites of ‘anti-maternalism’ or the ‘forgetting’ of maternalism. Moreover, our participants’ accounts were strongly shaped by feminist ethics of care thus challenging the representation of such services as therapeutic postfeminist technologies of self-work.

    Structured keywords

  • Gender Research Group

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 401 KB, PDF document


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