Hypatia 30 (1):234-250 (2015)

Abstract
Dominant Western discourses of motherhood have depicted disabled women as incapable of being mothers. In contrast to these representations, recent literature in disability studies has argued that disabled women can provide maternal care and should therefore retain custody over their children. This literature is commendable, but its emphasis on custodial rights excludes from the category of “mother” those disabled women who cannot maintain child custody. In this article, I challenge this exclusion via an account of my experience with my two mothers: my biological mother, who relinquished custody over me because of her inability to provide care, and my maternal grandmother, who raised me as her child. Theorizing this account, I argue that disability studies must adopt a conception of motherhood that recognizes both alternative kinship structures and mothers whose disabilities preclude them from fulfilling normative conceptions of maternal care. I develop such a conception by synthesizing Judith Butler's theorization of queer kinship with Donald Winnicott's rethinking of the maternal subject. I conclude by drawing on this flexible conception of motherhood to argue that my disabled mother's relinquishing of custody over me to her own mother was the very gesture in which she accepted and adopted a maternal role.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/hypa.12125
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,975
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Feminist, Queer, Crip.Alison Kafer - 2013 - Indiana University Press.
The Evidence of Experience.Joan W. Scott - 1991 - Critical Inquiry 17 (4):773-797.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Feminist Approaches to Cognitive Disability.Licia Carlson - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (10):541-553.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Two Mothers in Law and Fact.Robert Leckey - 2013 - Feminist Legal Studies 21 (1):1-19.
Queer/Fear: Disability, Sexuality, and The Other. [REVIEW]Nancy J. Hirschmann - 2013 - Journal of Medical Humanities 34 (2):139-147.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-11-07

Total views
21 ( #531,621 of 2,498,254 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #426,910 of 2,498,254 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes