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Title: Women blogging in Québec, Canada : surfing between ideals and constraints
Author: Clennett-Sirois, Laurence
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 533X
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores online practices of women in Québec, a culturally and historically distinct province in Canada that is undergoing rapid social and technological transformations, and analyses the discourses that emerge. It zeroes in on blogging, as a facilitator for exploring, constructing and challenging gendered identities. It draws on and contributes to a growing body of literature that investigates and legitimises women's online writings, an area that remains under analysed. This online ethnography was accomplished through face-to-face interviews with 23 Frenchspeaking women bloggers, home visits and an analysis of their blogs. Using feminist critical discourse analysis, the thesis analyses how informants locate themselves inside and outside traditional and mainstream discourses of femininities. It first explores how participants discuss their blogs using domestic metaphors, thereby linking their online expressions to ideas and ideals of the home. Second, it reveals how bloggers share a common concern with putting forward a favourable self, emphasising personal qualities such as education, respect, affability, and impressive online networks. Third, it analyses self-improvement narratives in participants' interviews and blog entries, examining recurring discussions of personality, values and views; body size and image; emotional and mental health; and professional and homemaking skills. The last chapter underlines how blogging provides women with opportunities for networking, a place to discuss challenges and with a means to claim time for themselves. The thesis draws out the complex engagements in an activity they find pleasurable despite working within mainstream gender role constraints and still facing a digital divide. In both discourse and practice, participants seem at ease with blogging but remain highly influenced by traditional discourses. This gives rise to a sense of contradiction where they feel like they exist, have a public life and make a contribution but also exhibit a sense of compulsion and regulation. They break out of the limits of normative femininities perhaps – at the same time creating new 'women's worlds' – even as the use of blogging reinstates and produces conservative forms of self-management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ1101 Women. Feminism ; P0087 Communication. Mass media