Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Sarah B. Feldner

Second Advisor

Lynn H. Turner

Third Advisor

Pamela Nettleton

Abstract

For centuries, women have struggled to understand the meaning of one of their most important roles in society, mother. Internet discussion boards have become an important venue for women to participate in ongoing discussions about the role of mothering in contemporary society and serve as a means by which they are actively shaping society's understanding of the role of mothers.

A textual analysis of a popular mothering discussion board yielded two dominate mothering identities, tensions that exist for each mothering type and how mothers resolve those tensions through the mothering discourse. The study ultimately revealed the ways in which the mothering discourse serves as an important part of the identity construction process and is used as a means of negotiating, managing and ultimately reinforcing a mother's own identity