A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences


Taber, Nancy. 2013. “A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences.” Women’s Studies International Forum 37 (March): 16–25. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.01.007.


In this article, I discuss a research project exploring the experiences of military mothers. First, I examine literature that investigates the organizational context of women and mothers in western militaries. Second, I relate my approach to life history methodology and the ways in which I story the experiences of my participants. Third, I present a composite narrative re-presenting the important events and themes in the stories my participants told of their lives. Fourth, I discuss my narrative analysis of the composite story and its implications as relates to literature about military women. I conclude that the composite story demonstrates the interconnections between motherhood and military membership. The composite story is a compelling example of how, despite societal gains and occasional exceptions, women continue to experience being pushed back towards traditional roles. Additionally, in order to understand the complexities of participant lives, it is important to recount as much of their narratives as is possible.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries

Year: 2013

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