Accepted Paper:

State involvement in early mothering as "radical collaboration": a case study of Mapuche women in the south of Chile  


Marjorie Murray (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Paper short abstract:

The paper reflects upon the consequences of Chilean policy on early mothering and its possibilities as “radical collaboration” with a group of Mapuche women. It discusses the textures of this collaboration and its radicalism in the case of unexpected uses of parenting policies.

Paper long abstract:

The process of early mothering has become an increasingly public concern in a range of contexts and the target of policy intervention which aims at "enhancing" mothering experience, focusing principally in the wellbeing of children and their development. Based in the premises and aims of the nuclear family and developmental psychology they tackle a wide range of the population, who interact and make sense of these policies in the most unexpected ways.

Based in my ethnographic work with a group of Mapuche women and their experience of early mothering in a rural area the south of Chile, in this paper I reflect upon the consequences of Chilean policy on early mothering and its possibilities as "radical collaboration" with these women. During the process of becoming a mother the state presents itself as an ally and provider of a range of guidelines, materials and support. Not surprisingly, while these women welcome certain features of this policy, others remain ignored or perceived as distant or oppressive. However, in this period of radical transformation (becoming a mother) a range of changing responses to and elaborations of the policy take place. I focus on two cases in which the relation with the state turns into one of radical collaboration: the experience of an unwanted child and the uses of state childcare. The paper discusses the spontaneous uses of parenting policies and their radicalism in this context as well as the textures of collaboration that the state establishes with these mothers.

Panel IP07
Radical collaborations: a relational approach to social transformation