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    Breastfeeding selfies as relational practice: becoming a maternal subject in the digital age: a single case study

    Tugwell, Sharon (2019) Breastfeeding selfies as relational practice: becoming a maternal subject in the digital age: a single case study. International Breastfeeding Journal 14 , p. 23. ISSN 1746-4358.

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    Background: In 2015, the popular online parenting forum, Netmums, named breastfeeding selfies as the number one parenting trend in the UK for that year. Public reaction to the rise in popularity of this practice is polarised, much like breastfeeding in public. The unspoken rule that breastfeeding should be discreet is challenged by the ostentatious presence of breastfeeding selfies. The case study:This paper focuses on a detailed case study with a white, working class, single mother of two children who has taken and shared breastfeeding selfies online. The analysis employs psychoanalytic and phenomenological methods in order to consider the interrelation of both the internal processes and external forces at work in the practice of taking and sharing breastfeeding selfies. The focus is on how her practice might function in relation to the development of a maternal subject position and the ways in which any cultural capital associated with breastfeeding is perceived and mobilised. The analysis reveals how the relational dimension of selfie taking and participation in online breastfeeding and mothers' groups helps develop an embodied sense of cultural capital which has ramifications in the everyday, although not without its own contradictions. Whilst breastfeeding may take up a particular place in contemporary discourses around parenting and 'good mothering', the capital it affords women is inherently wrapped up in their subject position and material conditions. Online spaces allow for manoeuvre and the mobilisation of this capital in a way which is precluded in the outside world. The practice of sharing and consuming breastfeeding selfies critically contributes to the actualisation of this capital in an embodied sense. Conclusions:The key theme which emerges is the crucial need for recognition at both the micro and macro level and how this need for recognition is informed by both psychic and social pressures. The visibility, or self-exposure, associated with selfie sharing contributes to the surety of taking up a maternal subject position, from which the participant was better placed to work through some of the cultural ambivalences she too had internalised toward breastfeeding.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Recognition, Breastfeeding, Online Support Groups, Breastfeeding Selfies, Maternal Subjectivity
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
    SWORD Depositor: Mr Joe Tenant
    Depositing User: Mr Joe Tenant
    Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 11:49
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 17:26


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