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Doing Mother and Doing Citizen: (En)gendering Democracy in Playground Revolution in Taipei and New Taipei City
Parks and Playgrounds for Children by Children,engendering democracy,subaltern counter-publics,new motherhood institution,
|Publication Year :||2019|
Via half and a year of fieldwork as well as in-depth interviews with 15 core members, this article tries to answer a crucial question in feminism studies: how to transform a perspective from a particular group into socially recognized and institutionalized supports? Issue of public parks in Taiwan offers a possibility to expand the theoretical concern. In the article, I look into a group of a-political mothers, mostly housewives, who established a non-profit organization Parks and Playgrounds for Children by Children (abbreviated as PfC) in October 2015. They fight against the mainstream idea of male and profession dominance in playground designing. Without previous experience in public participation, they mobilize a series of collective actions such as protests on streets, engagements in the inner meetings of designer and public officers. Supported by parental networks, mothers remade 33 public playgrounds, including indicatory city playgrounds and neighborhood playgrounds. The gendering democracy leaves two empirical questions: firstly, how these physically separated mothers continuously participate in collective action as well as producing alternative discourses; and secondly, what impacts they have brought to the public sphere throughout their interactions. In this article, I try to argue that the way members of PfC consciously, collectively, and continuously “do mothers” is the mechanism that materialized their advocacy, making an alternative reality. First of all, they mobilize mothers through parental networks on social media, forming a subaltern counter-public sphere and intertwining their mothering daily work with public participation. Then, through co-editing materials and face-to-face encounters, they transform members’ ideas of playing and care-giving via intense interactions. Covered by parental performing, members elaborate an alternative discourse and embody the discourse in the everyday world. Finally, with the discourse and tactics of participation ready, members enter the public sectors with their children playing beside them. In addition to the physical impacts such as materialization of new ideas into playing facilities, they also bring an impact on interactional level. By insisting on doing participation and taking care of children simultaneously, they gradually change the attitude public sector held toward both the playgrounds and toward mothers. From the production of materials, discourses, and practices, these mothers claim the necessity of public engagement in motherhood and build a new reality to challenge the pre-existing ideology.
|Appears in Collections:||社會學系|
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