Women blogging in Québec, Canada: surfing between ideals and constraints

Clennett-Sirois, Laurence (2013) Women blogging in Québec, Canada: surfing between ideals and constraints. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis explores online practices of women in Québec, a culturally and historically distinct province in Canada that is undergoing rapid social and technological transformations, and analyses the discourses that emerge. It zeroes in on blogging, as a facilitator for exploring, constructing and challenging gendered identities. It draws on and contributes to a growing body of literature that investigates and legitimises women’s online writings, an area that remains under analysed. This online ethnography was accomplished through face-to-face interviews with 23 Frenchspeaking women bloggers, home visits and an analysis of their blogs.

Using feminist critical discourse analysis, the thesis analyses how informants locate themselves inside and outside traditional and mainstream discourses of femininities. It
first explores how participants discuss their blogs using domestic metaphors, thereby linking their online expressions to ideas and ideals of the home. Second, it reveals how
bloggers share a common concern with putting forward a favourable self, emphasising personal qualities such as education, respect, affability, and impressive online networks. Third, it analyses self-improvement narratives in participants’ interviews and blog entries, examining recurring discussions of personality, values and views; body
size and image; emotional and mental health; and professional and homemaking skills. The last chapter underlines how blogging provides women with opportunities for networking, a place to discuss challenges and with a means to claim time for themselves. The thesis draws out the complex engagements in an activity they find pleasurable despite working within mainstream gender role constraints and still facing a digital divide.

In both discourse and practice, participants seem at ease with blogging but remain highly influenced by traditional discourses. This gives rise to a sense of contradiction
where they feel like they exist, have a public life and make a contribution but also exhibit a sense of compulsion and regulation. They break out of the limits of normative
femininities perhaps – at the same time creating new 'women's worlds' – even as the use of blogging reinstates and produces conservative forms of self-management.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 12:45
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 12:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46815

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