Human Life Matters provides some keys to understanding the changes of the past 20 years which have increased the workload, pressure and injustices faced by mothers and particularly those faced by single mothers. One of the aims of the text is to dispel some of the confusion faced when mothers try to understand what has caused them, and their children, to suffer lower quality of life. Increasingly, mothers need better understanding of the systems that are affecting them in order to do so. They also need protection from the increased mother blame and aggression which has become pandemic and which disempowers women in the justice, welfare and work systems. Dignity, community, belonging, safety and possibility are critical resources for women trying to nurture and protect small children.
The author, Dr. Katie Thomas, suggests that a new norm for social interaction, ‘Barbarism’ is fuelling the increased difficulties that mothers face. She defines barbarism while noting that it includes a belief in the superiority of some people and a willingness to use cruel or vicious behaviours towards those who are considered inferior. Barbarism considers it acceptable to use whatever tactics are most effective to maintain control, including tactics which are inhumane. Mothers, and particularly single mothers, have been a core target in the barbaric campaign. They are an easy target because they typically have little money or social power to defend themselves; have invested much of their career time in the unpaid work of raising children and have little free time to advocate for themselves or to engage in social action.
The text describes different uses of power in an attempt to help people be more aware of abuses of power when they experience them. It is hoped that the increased clarity will enable people to defend themselves from having their homes, their family lives and their rights overridden. Chapter Eight focusses particularly on the Family Court and on the disinformation and myths which disempower mothers in this system. As mothers become more widely aware of the changes which are harming their family lives and their children they are able to more effectively and systemically protect themselves and to organize for change. One of the stated purposes of this writing is to mobilize those of goodwill for active solidarity. The author states that, “Caring alliance, effective resistance, radical thought and transformative behaviour will each be essential if we are to overturn the oligarchy of oppressive human control.” Three areas of pressure are examined: Firstly, the global changes which have made money the core measure of human value; secondly cultural changes (in Australia and the US in particular) which occurred as aggression became socially acceptable and thirdly; workload and legal changes with direct impacts on families. The author highlights how increases in pace of life, aggression towards mothers and demands for paid workers are impacting on small children. The protection afforded by early attachment is now routinely and callously over-ridden. The author demonstrates how cultures based on raw, competitive greed are harmful to children. She illustrates how the increases in aggression which accompany greed are experienced most intensely, and frequently, by children who have no voice or capacity to defend themselves. The author suggests that Cultures could be transformed through wide systemic prioritization of children and the vulnerable. The language of the text is somewhat academic and the book concludes with a call for increased focus on possibility and the wellbeing of children and mothers.
Human Life Matters by Dr. Katie Thomas is available online at Amazon.com.
Title: Human Life Matters
The Ecology of Sustainable Human Living vs. The Rule of the Barbarians
Author: Dr. Katie Thomas
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (April 26, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
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Dr. Katie Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Development Health and Honorary Associate with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. Her research passions are social justice and the nurturance of children. At the macro-social level this means focus on public policy and the feminization of poverty; at the meso-level, on cultural exclusion and silencing of children and trauma; at the individual clinical level focus on trauma recovery and protection and recovery from violence. Research involvement includes the leadership and resilience of migrant and refugee women; women in PNG and Indigenous people. Katie has conducted industry and social profiling for government and NGOs at national, state and local levels. Her experiences as academic, clinician and human drove her most recent publication Human Life Matters: a documentation of global erosion of human rights, and particularly those of children, with specific focus on Australia.
You can read more of Katie's works at http://curtin.academia.edu/KatieThomas