‘Othering’ the unprepared: Exploring the foodwork of Brexit-prepping mothers

Ben Kerrane, Katy Kerrane, Shona Bettany, David Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the foodwork performed by white middle-class mothers in the United Kingdom who were preparing to feed their families in anticipation of post-Brexit resource scarcity. We illustrate their laborious preparations (‘prep-work’) as they stockpiled items (mostly food) in anticipation of shortages. We reveal tensions in how they envisaged how (and who) to feed. Analysis reveals how our (privileged, white middle-class) participants enrolled ‘good’ motherhood into prep-work and engaged in a new form of ‘othering’. Non-prepping ‘(m)others’ were positioned as deficient, ‘bad’ parents due to failure to save children from post-Brexit risk/hunger, and participants downplayed their own (classed and material) advantage in being able to prepare. By exploring their prep-work accounts, we illustrate how they assumed a morally superior motherhood position to the non-prepared underclass and make several contributions. First, we extend foodwork categories, recognizing additional foodwork of managing and hiding stockpiles (given stigma/ridicule surrounding prep-work). Second, we illustrate the darker side of motherhood that prep-work revealed, which clashes with elements of intensive motherhood ideology. Third, we illuminate the ‘othering’ of a new parental underclass: the unprepared.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-512
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number2
Early online date4 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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