Regretting Motherhood: A Sociopolitical Analysis

Based on in-depth interviews with twenty-three Israeli mothers, this article seeks to contribute to an ongoing inquiry into women’s subjective experiences of mothering by addressing an understudied maternal emotive and cognitive stance: regretting motherhood. The literature teaches us that within a pronatal monopoly, threatening women that they will inevitably regret not having children acts as powerful reproducer of the ideology of motherhood. Simultaneously, motherhood is constructed as a mythical nexus that lies outside and beyond the human terrain of regret, and therefore a desire to undo the maternal experience is conceived as an object of disbelief. By incorporating regret into maternal experiences, the purpose of the article is twofold: The first is to distinguish regret over motherhood from other conflictual and ambivalent maternal emotions. Whereas participants’ expressions of regretting motherhood were not bereft of ambivalence, and thus were not necessarily exceptional or anomalous, they foreground a different emotive and cognitive stance toward motherhood. The second purpose is to situate regret over motherhood in the sociopolitical arena. It has been suggested that the “power of backward thinking” might be used to reflect on the systems of power governing maternal feelings in two ways: first, through a categorical distinction in the target of regret between object (the children) and experience (maternity), which utilizes the cultural structure of mother love; second, by opposing the very essentialist presumption of a fixed female identity that naturally befits mothering or progressively adapts to it and evaluates it as a worthwhile experience.

Donath, O. (2015). Regretting motherhood: A Sociopolitical analysis. Signs,40(2), 343-367.


We live in a social system that allows men appropriate common spaces

We live in a social system that allows men appropriate common spaces and consider women bodies a public property just for the simple fact of being in the street.

Sociology of Development Journal


I find this journal very interesting to publish some of my work.

Coming March 2015!

Sociology of Development is an international journal addressing issues of development, broadly considered. With basic as well as policy-oriented research, topics explored include economic development and well-being, gender, health, inequality, poverty, environment and sustainability, political economy, conflict, social movements, and more.

Sociology of Development promotes and encourages intellectual diversity within the study of development, with articles from all scholars of development sociology, regardless of theoretical orientation, methodological preference, region of investigation, or historical period of study, and from fields not limited to sociology, and including political science, economics, geography, anthropology, and health sciences.

“Gendered strategies of resistance in the workplace”. An example of participant observation study

I intend to focus on the issue of gendered economic relations on the labor market. I would like to investigate how the feminization of work is produced (on the macro level: by economic, state and labor market transition of diverse sector of the economy) and reproduced (in the every-day life experience of women workers). The main question would therefore be: how is global capitalist economic restructuring affecting the lives of Polish women workers? Furthermore, to escape the binary vision of gender/power relations, I will also look for women’s strategies of resistance to better understand if and why the women workers struggle is possible, and how it deconstructs their subordinate position and brings empowerment. In my PhD thesis I intend to study gender/power-class relations in one of the factories in the Walbrzych Special Economic Zone and also conduct desk research on special economic zones in Poland. This will enable me to grasp the chain of capital flow and its linkages with the local market and women workers’ experiences. No research on special economic zones from a feminist and workers rights perspective has been done in Poland. In the media and policy makers’ accounts, the zones are a success story in bringing in foreign investment, generating jobs, and enhancing the competitiveness of Polish economy. They are described as a solution to unemployment in Poland following transitional crisis, when over 5 million jobs were lost between 1992 and 2004. Precarious work, violations of labor rights, depletion of local government income, environmental costs, and impact on women are not addressed. Given this, my research project would try to provide a new background knowledge for political organizing on women’s and labor rights.

The paper would therefore be the excerpt of the theoretical framework that I have been study recently. Thus, I would like to shift the perspective closed in conference ‘call for papers’ and  concentrate on the issue of the intersection between gender and the strategies of workers’ resistance: if and how the conditions of women’s work interfere with the workers organizing (meant as: the trade union or the informal groups of workers’ activists).  In other words I would like to question how the oppression is gendered and how the resistance is gendered in the workplace, and if there is a need for other organizing among women workers – different form the traditional trade unionism.

Author: Małgorzata Maciejewska. University of Wrocław