BAMBI CHAPIN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY
What makes a good mother? Bambi Chapin has co-edited (with Kathleen Barlow) a new special issue of the journal Ethos on “Mothering as Everyday Practice.” The articles explore not just what mothers say about parenting, but what they actually do, and how they understand what defines a good mother. These ideas are far from natural or universal. Instead, they are informed by a diversity of value systems, social structures, traditions, habits and life circumstances.
Chapin undertook the research that inspired this publication while parenting her own child in the field, and she describes how others’ reactions to her mothering shaped her field relationships in unexpected ways. Likewise, her personal reactions to others’ mother-child interactions—feeling surprise or dismay—often prompted her most notable insights.
Bambi Chapin is co-editor of the December 2010 issue of Ethos on “Mothering as Everyday Practice.”