Kim Price-Glynn: An Ideology of Collective-Intensive Mothering

Check out Associate Professor of Sociology and Urban and Community Studies Kim Price-Glynn's recent article in Gender, Work & Organization titled "An Ideology of Collective-Intensive Mothering: The Gendered Organization of Care in a Babysitting Cooperative."


Babysitting cooperatives offer reciprocity-based short-term childcare for members. In practice, the babysitting cooperative (co-op) under study has contradictory outcomes that both relieve and burden its participants. This study is based on ethnographic methods: 4 years of participant observation, 28 in-depth interviews with 18 members and 10 spouses and an analysis of babysitting co-op texts. This research extends the ideology of intensive mothering to include collective-intensive mothering, a group form of intensified caregiving reproduced by the babysitting co-op's gendered organization of care. To accomplish collective-intensive mothering, babysitting co-op members employ intensive mothering beliefs and practices in conjunction with other group members. What is more, co-op members collectively intensify their mothering practices with other members' children in addition to their own. Given need for more (and better) caregiving alternatives, the lack of scholarly attention to unpaid cooperative caregiving groups, like babysitting co-ops, is surprising. This research seeks to address this gap.