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    The Non-Traditional (M)Other: The Representation of Young Motherhood and Ambivalent Motherhood in Contemporary German and Irish Films

    Collins, Kira (2020) The Non-Traditional (M)Other: The Representation of Young Motherhood and Ambivalent Motherhood in Contemporary German and Irish Films. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The aim of this thesis is to analyse how contemporary German and Irish films represent non-traditional motherhood. I investigate how the films represent young mothers and ambivalent mothers; I analyse the characters’ roles within society and examine how the mothers’ family situations influence their maternal experiences. I do so to fill a gap in current research on non-traditional maternal representations in contemporary European film. Using a comparative case study, my textual analysis shows that the films share a representation of the non-traditional mother as the Other, while also presenting differences that can be related to the national context. These differences regarding young motherhood, for example, include a focus on reproductive rights in Irish film and a strong expectation of failure in the German context. I demonstrate that the films represent the young mothers as socially isolated and that their bodily autonomy is restricted. In particular, I show how the films represent that society expects them to fail as mothers. Furthermore, my investigation of the depiction of ambivalent mothers reveals that they are frequently represented in opposition to both “natural” and “sacrosanct motherhood,” so that their representation challenges an ideal image of maternity. My analysis shows that most of the films do not represent non-traditional motherhood in combination with both work and sex, and when they do so, they frame them as incompatible. Additionally, I show that non-traditional mothers are dissatisfied with their family situation. In particular, the role of the father influences the mothers’ perception of their own ability to mother. This study builds on the framework of maternal discourses that E. Ann Kaplan identifies in American media of the 1980s and 1990s and develops it to include two further categories. It adds a European focus by investigating how contemporary German and Irish films represent both young and ambivalent mothers

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Non-Traditional; Mother; Representation; Young Motherhood; Ambivalent Motherhood; Contemporary German; Irish Films;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > Media Studies
    Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > German
    Item ID: 15368
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2022 15:32
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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