Can Mothers Be Heroes? Maternity and Maternal Body Work in Military Firefighters

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Eloisio Moulin de Souza orcid


Objective: the article analyzes the discursive practices related to maternity and maternal body work that circulate among military firefighters, through the cultural construction of the hero firefighter that affects simultaneously the construction of military women as ideal mothers and firefighters. Theoretical framework: to do so, we used studies on maternal body work and gender in military organizations. Method: we conducted semi-structured interviews with mothers and pregnant military firefighters, and data were analyzed using the Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). Results: the hero establishes conflicts between motherhood and work that reduce the status of women firefighters in the organization. To deal with these conflicts and contradictions, women firefighters engage in maternal body work, seeking to reconcile the demands of work and motherhood. Conclusion: the results of the article show that building the hero firefighter’s imaginary represents an unwritten social norm, which establishes power relations that downgrade and push away simultaneously the maternal bodies from the possibility of being considered heroic and ideal bodies for the military firefighter work.


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Souza, E. M. de. (2022). Can Mothers Be Heroes? Maternity and Maternal Body Work in Military Firefighters. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 26(Sup. 1), e210193.
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