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Title: Parenting identities, practices and social support in popular parenting websites : a narrative approach
Author: Winter, J.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis explores the relationship between dominant discourses of 'parenting' and social support on two popular parenting websites. It also examines the narratives of mothering and online practices of users. Methodologically, narrative is foregrounded in the interpretive analysis of psychosocial meaning. Data are treated as phenomenological accounts of experience. Drawing on sociological research into parenting websites the thesis critically considers popular online support spaces in which parents (primarily mothers) position themselves. The study has a three-phase design. First, a multimodal analysis of key features of homepage data to explore dominant discourses around which the websites are organized. Second, narrative analysis of interviews with the websites' managers and moderators. How the stories each told of Mumsnet's and Netmums' foundation positioned the websites, both to other online and offline social support for parents and wider culture, is examined. Third, to investigate the conditions and purposes for which mothers use these websites, accounts of a small sample of users are examined. This phase focuses on: i) the application of social practice theory to the use of these websites embedded in mothers' everyday lives; ii) narrative analysis of turning points in women's experiences of motherhood, illuminating the role of online parenting forums in the construction of parenting identities. There was notable congruence between the accounts of users interviewed, the managers' stories, and the visual construction of the websites. The practice of using Mumsnet entailed a defined set of practices involving a level of commitment to that forum, while Netmums use was framed as complementing, rather than an alternative to, other forms of face-­to-­face social support. Key differences were found in the ways the users made sense of their motherhood transitions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available