Motherhood and Social Exclusion: Narratives of Women in Prison in Ireland

Abstract

This chapter details the experiences of motherhood and social exclusion in Ireland. The particular focus of the chapter is on experiences of women of motherhood within Ireland’s criminal justice system and experiences of women of motherhood within Ireland’s conceptions and apparatuses of social justice. The entrenched nature of patriarchy in Ireland is examined and explained in the chapter, as is the intertwining of church and state and the consequent shaping of Irish society. Ireland, with its catholic ethos and habitus, has had particularly idealised notions of motherhood, and particularly idealised notions of femininity. These idealised constructs have had, and they continue to have, very serious implications and consequences for women, for mothers who have come into contact with the criminal justice system and, for those who have not contravened the law but whose attitudes and behaviours were deemed to be in need of adjustment and correction. This chapter provides an historical overview of mothering and social exclusion in Ireland. It outlines the uneven power relations that shaped women’s experiences of mothering and the social exclusion many women endured as a result of their experience of mothering. Detail is provided on the history of supports available in Ireland for mothers to help them mother. The need to mother, to carry to give birth and to mother children, is considered. The implications and the consequences of this need and of these experiences, in particular for women experiencing social exclusion are explored.

Description

Keywords

women, prison, Ireland, narratives, social exclusion

Citation

Quinlan, C. (2019) Motherhood and Social Exclusion: Narratives of Women in Prison in Ireland. In: Byefields, C. and Jackson, H. (eds.) Motherhood and Social Exclusion, Ontario: Demeter Press.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice