عنوان مقاله [English]
In intergenerational family relationships, the respect for the role of the mother has always been emphasized in Iranian-Islamic culture. However, conducting socio-cultural research in Iran with a special focus on the roles of mothers is one of the research gaps that requires more scientific research. The purpose of this study is to examine the social and cultural concerns of mothers in familial and social relationships. The research method used was the critical qualitative method of Carspecken. Research data were collected through in-depth interviews with 15 mothers who had children under the age of two. Findings show categories such as physical and mental exhaustion of the mother, child developmental concerns, increasing needs with child growth, mother's sensitivity due to uncontrollable child, disturbance in housekeeping, gender preference, unstable social status of the mother, etc. were obtained. The results showed mothers' dissatisfaction and disturbance about some social and cultural structures that put pressure on them. Based on the results, there is a need to pass laws to facilitate and improve the supportive and emotional contexts for mothers. Also, the existing capability of Iranian society should be employed more effectively to maintain and promote the status of the mother as a proud role in Iranian-Islamic cul.
Mother, Intergenerational Family Relations, Socio-Cultural Concerns, Critical Research, Zarand City
Social and behavioral scientists have seen the pivotal role of the mother as an important agent in reproducing and transmitting social and cultural values to future generations through giving birth to a child, socializing children, forming kinship networks, and establishing new family bonds. The social role of motherhood is often associated with wide-ranging expectations and heavy social responsibilities for the mother.
In Iranian families, the mother has played an important role for centuries with a respectable social status in intergenerational family relationships. Historically, Iranian-Islamic culture has emphasized respect for the role of the mother. The present paper aims to examine the socio-cultural concerns experienced by the mother as one of the vital roles in the family and society.
Motherhood in human societies is based on dual identity. On the one hand, it is defined by physical and biological processes related to women, and on the other hand, it is defined by very important social and cultural dimensions related to gender. The social and cultural rules and dimensions of motherhood are far more important than the biological dimensions in this dual biological and cultural identity of motherhood.
Once women take on the role of motherhood, they confront new multifaceted challenges. Until now, social studies and research in Iran have been less focused specifically on mothers and have commonly studied women as a larger group or have studied motherhood mainly in positivistic or interpretive paradigms. The present study intends to critically examine the lives of mothers and their socio-cultural concerns and complications. In other words, this paper tries to answer the question: what issues and challenges exist for mothers from a social and cultural point of view?.
The present study has been done with a critical ethnographic approach. The purpose of critical ethnography is to explore a cultural experience in the areas of everyday social life that are embedded within larger social and structural contexts. The field of our research is Zarand city, located in the central regions of Iran and in the north of Kerman province. The sample consisted of 15 mothers with children under two years of age, purposefully selected based on various criteria such as socioeconomic status, employment status, education, physical health of the child, etc.
In this study, the five-step Carspecken strategy was used. Since the purpose of the Carspecken approach is to explore and identify cultural meanings, as well as to produce first-hand data through the researcher's participation in the field, the data collection of the present study was done by means of a mix of qualitative research techniques. Based on the observational technique and daily field notes from close contact with the participants, an attempt was made to obtain basic and exploratory knowledge of the context of the study. In addition, participants' views and opinions were also collected through in-depth individual interviews. To analyze the data, attempts were made to reconstruct themes and identify cultural relationships between the local context and macro levels of reality through critical analysis models.
The study categorized and extracted some of the most important challenges and problems experienced by mothers based on qualitative analysis of field observations and individual interviews with participants. The following themes were obtained from our data analysis: physical and mental exhaustion experienced by mothers, concerns regarding a child's growth and health, raising needs of children as children age increases, mother anxiousness regarding childrearing and expected socialization, demanding all responsibility of childcare from the mother, the power of gender boundaries in practice, decline in leisure time and work-related activity of mother, the consequence of gender preferences in society over the mother, and so on. The themes obtained from the research reflect the complex and multifaceted situation that the mother faces. Some of these themes reflect the social expectations that the normative rules and cultural structures of society impose on the mother and place the burden of responsibility on the mother. The other themes reflect the psychological stress and social pressures that the mother experiences in different ways during the parenting process.
The results show that the role of motherhood is associated with challenges and limitations. Social structures and cultural norms impact the allocation of tasks and define expectations from the mothering role. Although these rules and structures have longstanding cultural-historical roots, rapid social changes in the modern era have created role conflict, leading to multiplying psychological and social pressures on the mother role. Therefore, conducting more social research is necessary for a better understanding of individual and social concerns of mothers and to maintain and strengthen the respectable dignity of the mother. According to our results, it is necessary to design and formulate social policies to improve the context for emotional and social support for mothers. Also, the existing social and cultural contexts of the society should be employed more effectively to maintain and promote the status of the mother, as a proud role in the Iranian-Islamic culture of our society.