• Hapless, helpless, hopeless: an analysis of stepmothers' talk about their (male) partners

      Roper, Sandra; Capdevila, Rose; University of Bedfordshire; Open University (SAGE, 2020-03-31)
      The identity of stepmother is, in many ways, a troubled one – constructed as “other” and often associated with notions of “wickedness” in literature and everyday talk. This paper reports findings from a study on the difficulties faced by stepmothers and how they use talk about their (male) partners, often constructing men as hapless, helpless or hopeless, to repair their “troubled” identities. The data were collected from a web forum for stepmothers based in the UK and 13 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with stepmothers. The analysis took a synthetic narrative-discursive methodological approach, underpinned by feminist theory with particular attention to the discourses that were drawn on by participants and the constraints that these imposed. This paper presents these findings in relation to three constructions of their partners through which repair work was attempted: men as in need of rescue; men as flawed fathers; and men as damaged. The paper concludes with some suggestions for supporting stepmothers by challenging dominant narratives around families in talk, in the media and in government and institutional policies.
    • Sharenting: pride, affect and the day-to-day politics of digital mothering

      Lazard, Lisa; Capdevila, Rose; Dann, Charlotte; Locke, Abigail; Roper, Sandra (Wiley, 2019-03-06)
      The coming together of parenting and routine posting on social networking sites has become a visible and recognisable theme, and the term “sharenting” has found a place in everyday talk to describe some forms of parental digital sharing practices. However, while social media has undoubtedly provided a space for parents to share experiences and receive support around parenting, sharenting remains a contestable issue. Thus, one reading of sharenting would be as a display of good parenting as mothers “show off” their children as a marker of success. However, the term also can be used pejoratively to describe parental oversharing of child‐focused images and content. In this paper, we explore the practice of sharenting in terms of pride, affect and the politics of digital mothering in a neoliberal context to conclude that sharenting can be best understood as a complex affective and intersectional accomplishment that produces motherhood and family as communicative activities within digital social practices.