Mothering a child with autism in the United States and in South Korea Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xd07gw065

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  • In this dissertation, I qualitatively examined the meaning of mothering a child with autism in two countries: the United States and South Korea. The overarching research question focused on how sociocultural ideas about mothering and disability, particularly autism spectrum disorders, shape women’s understanding of themselves and their children with disabilities. In the first study, using symbolic interactionism and feminism, I examined (a) how middle-class, White women who have children with autism understand themselves as mothers and (b) how their ideas are shaped by social interactions with others. Through in-depth interviews with 12 women who have children with autism, I found that these mothers understand themselves to be empathic supporters, mediators, and advocates for their children with autism. Their stories are shaped by selective attention to those who support their self image and a disregard of those who undermine it. Implications for policy and practice are offered. In the second study, guided by the integration of feminist and disability theories within a social constructionist framework, I asked (a) how dominant sociocultural systems related to mothering and disability shape South Korean mothers’ understanding of themselves and their children with autism and (b) how mothers conform to and resist these systems. To answer these questions, I conducted in-depth interviews with 14 middle-class, South Korean mothers with children who have autism. I found that these mothers resisted stigmatizing attitudes toward themselves and their children and they reconstructed the meaning of “normal” childhood by relying on a network of similarly situated mothers. They described themselves as “good” by adhering to Confucian family values that encourage women to sacrifice themselves to focus on their children’s success. From these findings, the two studies collectively demonstrate that mothering a child with autism is (a) gendered, (b) specific to ones’ understanding of autism, and (c) both oppressing and empowering to women. The overarching implications for policy and practice are offered.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2009-06-24T17:46:15Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Hyun Kyung You_Dissertation.pdf: 355152 bytes, checksum: fc1e2dc52c64a6a557ee02a026e1da07 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Hyun-Kyung You (youh@onid.orst.edu) on 2009-06-18T23:20:01Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Hyun Kyung You_Dissertation.pdf: 355152 bytes, checksum: fc1e2dc52c64a6a557ee02a026e1da07 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2009-06-25T15:45:54Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Hyun Kyung You_Dissertation.pdf: 355152 bytes, checksum: fc1e2dc52c64a6a557ee02a026e1da07 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Linda Kathman(linda.kathman@oregonstate.edu) on 2009-06-25T15:45:53Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Hyun Kyung You_Dissertation.pdf: 355152 bytes, checksum: fc1e2dc52c64a6a557ee02a026e1da07 (MD5)

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