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Accepted Paper:

Gender and the politics of maternalisms: kinship-based imaginaries of responsibility and care.  
Maila Stivens (University of Melbourne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the complexities of maternalist politics among Australian refugee and asylum seeker support groups, including 'Mums for Refugees', 'Grandmothers for Refugees' and 'Kindred Kindness', discussing in global contexts their kinship-based imaginaries of responsibiity and care.

Paper long abstract:

Feminist scholarship has often been profoundly ambivalent about maternalist political mobilisations, seeing them as posing dangers of essentialising motherhood and of colluding with male-centred social orders, conservative politics and top-down state projects. Arguing with Carreon and Moghadam (2015) for a need to explore the many possible manifestations and interpretations of such highly complex and fluid politics, this paper looks at these debates in relation to cases of Australian groups adopting familial/kinship/maternalist identities to support and militate politically for refugees and people seeking asylum: these groups include ‘Mums 4 Refugees’, ‘Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children’ (recently renamed ‘Grandmothers for Refugees’), ‘Kindred Kindness’, and the 'Knitting Nannas'. I have been especially interested in the ways in which the invocations of familial location – especially as ‘grandmothers’ -- are operating within these organisations, assuming overt familial responsibility for and care of ‘Others’ beyond the family, state and nation. These actions by older women echo those occurring elsewhere, including those of the Raging Grannies [Canada, US]; Omas Gegen Rechts [Austria, Germany]; Grannies International [ditto); and The Granny Peace Brigade [US]: female membership is notably prominent both in these specific groups and within many other contemporary organisations involved in such support and activism both locally and globally. The cases discussed open up some intriguing, more general questions about maternalist framings and mobilisations, and the cosmopolitan hospitality they offer from within positions of kinship-based imaginaries of responsibility and care.

Panel Mora03a
Kinship, gender and the politics of responsibility I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -