Thèse de Carolina POMBO DE BARROS

Keeping head above water: social presence in the transitions of Brazilian women to motherhood

Comparing experiences in Brazil, France, Portugal and Sweden


The main objective of this thesis was characterizing and analysing social presence in the transition(s) of Brazilian women from privileged classes to motherhood, in Brazil, France, Portugal and Sweden, in recent years. As a final goal, it intended to contribute to de-construct the hegemonic model of good motherhood in Brazil, which is established from the experiences of middle-class white Brazilian women. As methodological strategy, it focused on Brazilian mothers‘ experiences of presences, using Computer-Mediated Communication and three methods in parallel: a documentary research on official reports of perinatal health and family policies, biographical interviews and recording of daily diaries, articulated through a phenomenological perspective. Therefore, in my fieldwork I searched, in a spiral drifting, how certain moral rhetorics associated to gender, class and racial norms are reproduced by privileged mothers in maternal transitions. Beyond of this process of reproducing hegemonic representation of motherhood, I also found generating hesitations and ethical enactment among these women towards marginalized mothers such as racialized, single and poor ones. Finally, this thesis discusses how care ethics raise from daily parental relationships and how improving responsive social presence is quite significant for the promotion of such ethics beyond of feminine care work.

  • Thèse de sociologie (doctorat Phoenix), préparée sous la direction conjointe de Marc Bessin (CNRS-EHESS) et Felismina Mendes (Université d’Evora)
  • Date de soutenance : 23 mai 2017

Composition du jury

  • Marc Bessin (Directeur de thèse), CNRS
  • Felismina Mendes (Directrice de thèse), Université d’Evora (Portugal)
  • Laurinda Abreu, Université d’Evora (Portugal)
  • Hélène Bretin, Université Paris 13
  • Amelia Maria Cavaca Augusto, Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal)
  • Teresa-Maria da Conceiçao Joaquim, Universidade Aberta (Portugal)
  • Maria de Fatima Nunes, Université d’Evora (Portugal)
Paris 13

Bâtiment Recherche Sud
5 cours des Humanités
93322 Aubervilliers cedex

UFR SMBH 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny cedex



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