Digitally mediated motherhood: Mommy blogs and reading mothering

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

Digital technologies have opened up new environments in which the experiences of motherhood and mothering are expressed, negotiated and narrated. As such, online spaces and networks have become important cultural domains where stories of motherhood are articulated. A long history of research has theorised the complex identities and expectations associated with practices of mothering, particularly in the context of narratives of intensive mothering. Similarly there is a wealth of research which points to the ways in which the internet, for new mothers in particular, can provide an emancipatory and communicative space, at a time of transition, potential geographic or social isolation, identity transformation and new, unfamiliar demands

This paper will use the examples of ‘mummy blogging’ to explore the ways in which these expectations, identities and narratives are represented and resisted online.
The paper will provide a typology of ‘mummy’ blogs and will present an analysis of digitally mediated stories of ‘doing’ being a mother. The paper will argue that we can identify a continuum of online practices and representations of motherhood, ranging from the confessional to the radical, the community builder to the performer, the hobbyist to the entrepreneur. Along this continuum blogs act as sites of engagement and resistance, representing and challenging ideas of the identity ‘mother’ and of mothering practices. In this sense the blogosphere can be seen as another site through which the identities and role of motherhood are socially (re)constructed.

This (re)construction also occurs through the interactive practices of the social networking technologies in which blogs are embedded. Therefore the paper will reflect on the ways in which web 2.0 activities of interaction and prosumption combine with ‘mummy’ blogging to provide us with new ways of thinking about the social and cultural construction of the identity of mother and the ‘doing’ of motherhood. These activities and interaction across a range of platforms, create a digital footprint that represents different ways of articulating the “doing of motherhood” and the cultural construction of the identity of mother. As such I will argue that blogs act as a meso level between the experience of motherhood at an individual or micro level and the expectations and understandings of motherhood at a cultural or macro level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTaking the Village Online
Subtitle of host publicationMothers, Motherhood, and Social Media
EditorsBasden Arnold Lorin , Martin Kruk BettyAnn
PublisherDemeter Press
Number of pages180
ISBN (Print)9781772580822
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

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