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Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth

Das, Ranjana (2017) Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth Social Media and Society, 3 (4).

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In this article, I present an analysis of 1930 posts from 12 discussion threads from an online parenting forum, drawing upon a broader project on the mediation of childbirth. I present three themes in analysis –the multi-pronged functions of writing birth narratives, the discursive and perceived silencing of difficult stories and the overt individualisation and self-management evident in women’s accounts. I locate these as outcomes of the individualisation of maternity in contemporary society and pendulum swings in cultural and policy level conceptualisations of how births ‘should be’. I argue for greater attention to be paid to the mediation of parenting and networked maternal subjectivities.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 19 October 2017
DOI : 10.1177/2056305117735753
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2017 The Author(s). Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Uncontrolled Keywords : childbirth, motherhood, maternity, online forums, maternal
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 15 Aug 2017 11:15
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:55

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