NoClass theorists ask for research on the 'paradox of class' - the fact that while class appears to be materially just as important as ever, it hardly features as part of a self-conscious social identity. At the same time mothering is usually seen as a classless activity. This paper describes class based differences in how mothers combine employment and caring for their children, how they divide labour with their partners, and how they choose childcare. These are not simple structural divisions between working class and middle class, but instead refer to more nuanced social identities. These class based differences in mothering present different mixes of choice and constraint, or of 'rationality' and 'preference' in choosing alternative courses of action. However, theories focusing on classless individualised preference (Hakim) and class-based rationality (Goldthorpe) do not go far beyond a tautological description of these alternatives. Rather, the paper shows how preference and rationality are socially and culturally created through the development of career as an identity, through biographical experience, through relations with partners, and through the development of normative views in social networks
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