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Accepted Paper:

On leaving the nest: existential immobility from state and stigma  
Katherine Smith (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the affective dynamic of parenting between a mother and her son, mapping out the limits of their imaginations of the future as they prepare for the son to 'leave the nest' but feel unable to imagine a future that will be any different from their past and present circumstances.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses the structural inequalities that have a history of influence on the aspirations and imaginations of people who feel trapped, or stuck, in a familiar sense of crisis as they depend on state financial support to make ends meet. It explores articulations of uncertainty about how to imagine a future beyond dependence on the state that will be any different from their present and historical circumstances (Hage 2009: 97). Specifically, this paper presents ethnographic insights into the affective dynamic of parenting between a mother and her son, mapping out the limits of their imaginations as they prepare for the son to 'leave the nest'. Parenting marks time in the most intimate of ways. It also confronts parents with the passing of time in terms of biological 'growth' that sequences time for us. And in and through the practices of mothering and preparing for the future, we find mother and son at the limits of their imaginations. It is at this limit when see a strong affective dynamic in a 'relation of attachment to compromised conditions of possibility' (Berlant 2011: 2), a cruel optimism that comes in and out of focus with an inability to identify a tangible path upon which this imagined yet sequenced future can rest.

References:

Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism, Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Hage, Ghassan. 2009. "Waiting out the crisis: on stuckedness and governmentality". In G. Hage (ed.) Waiting. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Pp. 97-106.

Panel A09
'Left behind places': unequal social trajectories of progress
  Session 1 Wednesday 4 September, 2019, -