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Newman University
Connected parenting: Digital discourse and diverse family practices

This presentation explores the role of social media in contemporary parenting and family practice. It takes its title from my forthcoming book (Bloomsbury, 2023), and draws on digital and interview data from my research with single and/or LGBT parents who brought children into their lives through adoption, donor conception, surrogacy and/or co-parenting arrangements. In the talk I will propose that connection is the defining force in these parents’ social and support networks, and that they construct their parenting and family practices in and through connection with others. This connected parenting practice has three core components: epistemic connection, collective connection and affective connection. These forms of connection are often facilitated by new media technologies, and integrated with other (non-digital) connective practices, such as face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and prayer. Using mediated discourse analysis (Jones, 2005; Scollon, 2001, 1998) to focus my exploration on the mediated social action, I elaborate these three dimensions of connected parenting, using illustrative examples from my participants’ social media and mobile messaging data. I close by considering some of the implications of connected parenting for contemporary parenting and family practice, especially in new and marginalised family forms.


References: https://tinyurl.com/2p9btpke

Book: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/connected-parenting-9781350262539/


Jai is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Writing and Humanities at Newman University, Birmingham. Her research focuses primarily on the ways in which gendered, sexual and familial roles, relationships and practices are shaped and (re)produced in digital contexts. She has undertaken a range of collaborative and single-authored research in this area, including the monographs Language, Gender and Parenthood Online (Routledge, 2019) and Connected Parenting (Bloomsbury, 2023). Jai is convenor of the Language, Gender and Sexuality special interest group, which sits within the British Association of Applied Linguistics. She is a member of the editorial board for Discourse, Context and Media.

Jones, R.H., 2005. Discourse in Action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis. Routledge, London and New York.

Scollon, R., 2001. Mediated Discourse: The nexus of practice. Routledge, London and New York.

Scollon, R., 1998. Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction. Longman, London.


Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/98964286778?pwd=eGloS0w2WlRnZFI1SVo4eGZjTlMwZz09

Meeting ID: 989 6428 6778
Password: 415387

Livestream will be available at Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU