"Speaking as a mother": A membership categorisation analysis of child-centric talk in a UK daytime television talk show

KILBY, Laura and FOSTER, Emily (2023). "Speaking as a mother": A membership categorisation analysis of child-centric talk in a UK daytime television talk show. Feminism and Psychology, 33 (4), 550-568.

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Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/095935352...
Open Access URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/0959... (Published)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1177/09593535231173232


In this study, we explore motherhood as an interactionally emergent identity category that speakers construct and lay claim to in talk, and as a category that is imbued with moral expectations of how incumbents should behave. We analyse 18 child-focussed debates from British daytime television talk show, This Morning. Engaging a postfeminist framework, we use membership categorisation analysis to explore how, and to what effect, women deploy claims to motherhood. We report three main findings: (a) Speakers routinely quantify their motherhood credentials in the development of a “mother-cum-expert” identity; (b) speakers who construct motherhood in accordance with neoliberal norms of “good motherhood” habitually trump the arguments offered by other speakers, including those with professional expertise; (c) any challenge to essentialist norms of womanhood and/or motherhood become accountable matters. We conclude that whilst there is power in motherhood insomuch as it vests some women with expertise and elevates their rights to be heard on child-focussed matters, the speakers in our study nevertheless construct motherhood in a manner that (re)produces and elevates essentialised notions of gender and narrow versions of motherhood.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: A preprint of an earlier draft of this article is already is already uploaded to elements. If possible this should now be removed or somehow associated with this output. The preprint will remain available online but this final published version is the peer review output.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1699 Other Studies in Human Society; 1701 Psychology; Gender Studies; 4405 Gender studies; 5203 Clinical and health psychology; 5205 Social and personality psychology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/09593535231173232
Page Range: 550-568
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2023 13:41
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 15:45
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31777

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