Neuroscience, Affect, and the Entrepreneurialization of Motherhood

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Abstract:

Although neuroscientifically informed mothering advice manuals published in the past 15 years speak in the languages of liberation, empowerment, and self-realization, I argue that they ultimately imbricate women in ever-more-dense networks of authority, expertise, and government, and contribute to the proliferation of entrepreneurial models of self-conduct that comprises the defining feature of American neoliberalism. This rhetoric situates motherhood as a practice of freedom, both drawing from and contributing to affective forces that suture freedom to economic models of conduct. Through these discourses, emotion-centric, self-interested mothering practices become a key site for the production and reproduction of entrepreneurial selves.

Keywords: Affect; American Motherhood; Disciplinary Power; Foucault; Neoliberalism; Neuroscience; Rhetoric

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2011.610327

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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