Class, culture, migration and mothering
2 PUTTING THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK IN CONTEXT - 29
29 2 Putting the Conceptual Framework in Context The family is an important site for social and cultural production and reproduction (Bourdieu, 1996). Existing research literature on cultural reproduction has mainly been in the areas of school and higher education. This study examines mothering work in relation to social and cultural reproduction with a focus on preschool children and early childhood education. The younger the children, the more dependent they are on parents and families to provide care and education. Parents’ responsibili- ties and obligations are more salient compared with parenting during other phases. Mothers are generally the primary caregivers for their young children, particularly so with preschool children. The gendered role of parenting has been insufficiently studied (Reay, 1995). In this chapter, I first explain how early childhood is conceptualised as a field. I then describe New Zealand’s early childhood education context. This brief description shows the sector is a social arena where women have battled to gain power and maintain autonomy in the midst of an array of cultural repertories and socio-political tensions. This description sets the scene for the migrant mothers’ stories to unfold. Early Childhood: A Context with Multiple Fields “Fields are structured contexts” (McLeod, 2005, pp.13-14). Zarycki (2007) proposes reinterpreting fields as dimensions of a context. In this way, a context comprises various fields. The above citations evidence the overlapping or interchangeable nature of the terms “field” and “con- text”. For the purpose of the current research, the former is treated as a context where...
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