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The balancing act: Framing gendered parental identities at dinnertime

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2008

Department of English, Texas A&M University, 227 Blocker Building, TAMU 4227, College Station, TX 77843-4227,


A framing analysis of family interaction during dinnertime demonstrates that the mother and father linguistically create gendered identities through the number and types of discursive positions they take up within the frames they create and maintain. The mother accomplishes numerous tasks and activities by taking up multiple discursive positions within several interactional frames, whereas the father takes up fewer positions within fewer frames. Furthermore, the positions they take up are gendered, reflecting a sex-based division of labor, even though both parents work full-time outside the home. Through these gendered patterns of participation, the parents create gendered parental identities and negotiate their parental authority with their daughter and with each other. The attention to speech acts, footings, positioning, and framing reveals the intricate and dynamic details of interaction. Furthermore, this discourse model captures and explicates the process through which individuals create gendered identities as they enact and constitute other social identities.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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