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Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do – The Ethics of Ambivalence - Columbia Scholarship Online
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Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence

Sarah LaChance Adams


When a mother kills her child, we call her a bad mother, but, as this book shows, even mothers who intend to do their children harm are not easily categorized as “mad” or “bad.” Maternal love is a complex emotion rich with contradictory impulses and desires, and motherhood is a conflicted state in which women constantly renegotiate the needs of mother and child, the self and the other. Applying care ethics philosophy and the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Simone de Beauvoir to real-world experiences of motherhood, this book throws the inherent tensions of motherhood into ... More

Keywords: maternal love, motherhood, child, self, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir, mother, social problem

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231166751
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166751.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sarah LaChance Adams, author
University of Wisconsin Superior