Paperback Mother: Parenting Manuals and the Ideology of Motherhood

This paper examines the market for parenting guides. In so doing, the paper examines how competition for shelf space amongst publishers, the appetite for information on mothering, and the plenitude of different mothering experiences have combined to deliver upon the parenting public ever more tightly-defined subject matter. Then, the paper addresses the ideologies of motherhood propounded in parenting manuals and draws attention to the importance of consumption to each one. Finally, the paper suggests that while print culture is instrumental in the construction of impossible and chameleonic ideals of motherhood it may also re-empower women through their connection with a community of fellow readers.


Lisa O'Malley, Maurice Patterson, and Caoilfhionn Ni Bheachain (2005) ,"Paperback Mother: Parenting Manuals and the Ideology of Motherhood", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 457-459.


Lisa O'Malley, University of Limerick
Maurice Patterson, University of Limerick
Caoilfhionn Ni Bheachain, University of Limerick


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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