Maternal Thinkingas Peace Epistemology

Maternal Thinking is a practice rooted in the experience of mothers as people (generally, but not necessarily, women) who do the work of caring for their children.

Mothering is an intentional practice with the goals of preserving life, fostering growth, and training children to participate effectively in their families and societies. This, in fact, is the work of peace.
“Making peace is not … a matter of providing a haven—a beautiful, white house by a cool green stream—but rather a matter of creatingrelationshipsin which people, at the least, feel and are safe, where at best they feel and are respected.” Ruddick (1998: 219)

Ruddick’s argument—that the practice of mothering is antithetical to the work of war—has often been misinterpreted as essentializing mothers as more naturally peaceful or more peaceful by virtue of a socialization process. But Ruddick never says that mothering necessarily leads to peacefulness or that all mothers are peaceful. Instead, she critiques such arguments, finding them disempowering for women.
Rather, she claims that the practice of mothering, not any biological or other essence, fosters a particular kind of thought is antithetical to the kind of thought that the practice of war-making fosters. Hers is an epistemological, not an empirical, argument.

The Practices of mothering lead to the kind of thinking that is useful for peacemaking. The Mothering Epistemology involves the labor of biulding relationships as a condition to knowing.

Social structures which build and expand the capacity to choose “care and respect” over “Indifference and assault” are critical to establishing conditions that foster relationships conducive to JUSTPEACE.

Confortini and Ruane (2013), Journal of International Political Theory 10(1) 70 – 93

Advertisements