Maternity in time of “traditional values” and femonationalism

Project leader: Yulia Gradskova
Starting year: 2022
Project type: Project
Total funding: SEK 6,000,000

This project investigates “good motherhood” as a part of the new (femo)nationalism and helps to review the similarities and differences between Western rightist nationalisms and the nationalisms of postsocialist countries. Inspired by Sara Farris’ inquiry into “Western” forms of femonationalism, we explore what constructions of the “good mother” are produced by the nationalist rhetoric and policies’ initiatives. The project also studies how the women, whose motherhood is considered to be “failed,” resist these initiatives. The study is based on example of three countries belonging to the Baltic Sea region – Lithuania, Russia, and Sweden. We have two levels of analysis: 1) initiatives concerning policies and social expectations constructing the normative “good mother” and 2) the level of practices and changing experiences of maternity. We analyze policy documents, media debates and documents of right-wing political organizations; we also collect interviews and biographical material. The results of the project explain the place that “good motherhood” has in the new ideologies of the “traditional values” and pro-natalist initiatives in the postsocialist countries as well as demonstrate how the new nationalist initiatives are dealt with by mothers in three countries. The study contributes to new knowledge on the similarities and differences with respect to new nationalism in Eastern and Western Europe and to research on maternity and resistance.