New book analyses American advice books for mothers
American advice books intended for single mothers raising boys have a common theme: convincing the reader that mothers cannot raise boys to men. Berit Åström, associate professor and docent of English literature, has written a monograph that analyses advice given to single mothers in the United States.
Text: Sandra Lundström
– There is a large market in the US for this type of advice books. A common feature is that the father is presented as a central figure and the mother's role is undermined, says Berit Åström.
The study is intersectional, and the analysis is based on a wide range of material: the books are written by female and male authors, social workers, youth workers, pediatricians, but also professionals in the correctional services, and entrepreneurs.
– Even though the authors come from different backgrounds, they all share a conservative view of masculinity and femininity. It is also problematic that the books that are presented as socio-economically neutral, nevertheless make assumptions that the reader can afford, for example: expensive vacations, sports equipment, and extra tuition for their children, which can create stress in the readers who do not have the financial means.
Analysing American Advice Books for Single Mothers Raising Sons is published in February by Anthem Press.