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What mothers do: Motherhood as a resource for negotiating sick-leave legitimacy in Swedish sickness insurance interactions
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Welfare and Lifecourse)
2017 (English)In: NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, ISSN 0803-8740, E-ISSN 1502-394X, Vol. 25, no 3, 179-194 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sick leave in the Nordic countries is a gendered issue. Alongside other explanations, women’s higher levels of sick leave have been linked to their far-reaching family responsibilities. Meanwhile, studies have shown how such responsibilities induce questioning of the legitimacy of sick leave, indicating that normative aspects linking these categories cannot solely be approached in terms of causal explanations. The current study suggests an alternative way of studying this relationship, approaching motherhood as something being “done” in situated ways, to particular ends; a resource for interaction. By analysing naturally occurring interactions—meetings held by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency—the study renders visible the collaborative production of sick leave as a gendered matter, and motherhood as part of the negotiation of sickness insurance. The analysis shows the meaning and import of motherhood for sick leave to be a live issue for participants, drawing attention to how these categories are neither culturally predefined, nor dispositional, but flexibly assembled for certain purposes. Motherhood functions as a resource in two ways: (1) displaying restricted ability to care for children supports claims of impairment; (2) invoking motherhood works to account for slow or inactive rehabilitation. However, occasioning motherhood in the examined context is also risky: (3) displaying extensive mothering may be treated as indicating low commitment to rehabilitation, and (4) displaying limited mothering may be taken as indicating unfitness as a parent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 25, no 3, 179-194 p.
Keyword [en]
motherhood, gender, institutional talk, sickness insurance, sick leave, membership categorization analysis, conversation analysis, interaction
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331998DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2017.1380698OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331998DiVA: diva2:1151003
Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2017-10-20

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08038740.2017.1380698

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