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Sarah LaChance Adams, Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence, Columbia University Press, 2014

Sarah LaChance Adams, Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence, Columbia University Press, 2014
Sarah LaChance Adams, Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence, Columbia University Press, 2014
When a mother deliberately harms her child, it is tempting to assume that she must be either insane (a "mad mother") or lacking the "natural" love of a mother for her children (a "bad mother"). We want to believe that such mothers have almost nothing in common with "good" mothers. Drawing extensively on empirical research, Sarah LaChance Adams' Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What A "Good" Mother Would Do shows that maternal ambivalence, simultaneous desires to nurture and violently reject one's children, is both common and reasonable, the result of genuine conflicts between mothers' interests and those of their children. Both appropriate support and deliberative agency are necessary to avoid maternal ambivalence finding its expression in filicide. As LaChance Adams shows, it is because of not in spite of these tensions that motherhood is an instructive case for ethics. When we appropriately reflect the lived experience of mothers, rather than relying on long standing stereotypes, we find a new paradigm for ethical relationships. This new paradigm reveals that we require an ethical theory that recognises human needs to care for, to be cared for, and to maintain independence.
1086-3249
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679

Woollard, Fiona (2018) Sarah LaChance Adams, Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence, Columbia University Press, 2014. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 28 (1).

Record type: Review

Abstract

When a mother deliberately harms her child, it is tempting to assume that she must be either insane (a "mad mother") or lacking the "natural" love of a mother for her children (a "bad mother"). We want to believe that such mothers have almost nothing in common with "good" mothers. Drawing extensively on empirical research, Sarah LaChance Adams' Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What A "Good" Mother Would Do shows that maternal ambivalence, simultaneous desires to nurture and violently reject one's children, is both common and reasonable, the result of genuine conflicts between mothers' interests and those of their children. Both appropriate support and deliberative agency are necessary to avoid maternal ambivalence finding its expression in filicide. As LaChance Adams shows, it is because of not in spite of these tensions that motherhood is an instructive case for ethics. When we appropriately reflect the lived experience of mothers, rather than relying on long standing stereotypes, we find a new paradigm for ethical relationships. This new paradigm reveals that we require an ethical theory that recognises human needs to care for, to be cared for, and to maintain independence.

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 March 2018
Published date: March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420002
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420002
ISSN: 1086-3249
PURE UUID: 7c5796b1-0887-466c-8d46-697f324da9b8

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Date deposited: 25 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 06 Oct 2020 16:51

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