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Baby entertainer, bumbling assistant and line manager: discourses of fatherhood in parentcraft texts.

Sunderland, Jane (2000) Baby entertainer, bumbling assistant and line manager: discourses of fatherhood in parentcraft texts. Discourse and Society, 11 (2). pp. 249-274. ISSN 0957-9265

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Abstract

In this paper I report on an investigation of discoursal asymmetry in parentcraft texts, in terms of the ways in which the father is represented and backgrounded. In particular, I suggest that it is possible to see one dominant, overarching discourse: `Part-time father/mother as main parent'. This dominant discourse can be seen as being `shored up' (as well as, to an extent, challenged) by other, usually complementary, discourses: `father as baby entertainer', `father as mother's bumbling assistant', `father as line manager', `mother as manager of the father's role in childcare', and `mother as wife/partner'. These discourses are characterized by recurring and non-recurring linguistic presences - and, importantly, absences (Van Leeuwen, 1995, 1996). Looking in particular at the following linguistic items from three different semantic fields - mother/father/wife/husband/partner; play/fun/help; and share - I illustrate how different discourses, with their salient linguistic presences and absences, can organize a text in supporting and potentially destabilizing ways.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Discourse and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: discourses • fatherhood • gender • textual organization
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 1443
Deposited By: Dr Jane Sunderland
Deposited On: 11 Feb 2008 16:07
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:14
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1443

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