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Local Childcare Cultures: moral geographies of mothering and the social organisation of pre-school education

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Child-rearing has not been a major focus of research in geography despite the fact that its organisation is both spatially and temporally variable. Geographical work on pre-school childcare provision in the 1970s and 1980s tended to focus on the implementation and implications of government policy; more recently there has been a growth of feminist work on child-rearing which has employed a diversity of approaches. These studies have made a valuable contribution to our understanding of how mothers organise the care of their children, often whilst undertaking paid employment; nevertheless they can not always explain how a wide range of mothers negotiate specific aspects of 'maternal responsibility'. This article draws on an empirical investigation of pre-school childcare cultures in two areas of Sheffield, UK, in order to analyse the ways in which mothers' attitudes to their children's educational development and their strategies for accessing non-parental educational care are jointly shaped within the context of different local childcare cultures. The importance of two key components of these local childcare cultures, the moral geographies of mothering and the local social organisation of non-parental educational care, is emphasised.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1998

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