Kristina Bartley, Margareta Oudhuis, Viveka Torell

Kristina Bartley is Ph D in Sociology and Associate Professor of Educational Work at the University of Borås. She teaches in general sociology, sociology of childhood, sociology of education and work science. Her current research deals with democracy, participation and influence, abusive treatment and discrimination, children ́s rights, child and family policy in different countries and how different professions work with social problems such as vandalism. She has published in journals such as Nordic Studies in Education and Arbetsmarknad & Arbetsliv (2014, 2015) and International Journal of Applied Ethics. Center for Ethics and Values, Ramanujan College, University of Delhi (2014).

Margareta Oudhuis is professor in Work science at the University of Borås. Her current research deals with Scandinavian organization and leadership. She has written articles and co-written books about organizational resilience, culture as a base for successful entrepreneurship, but also on global management trends and successful elite sports clubs. In her last co-written book The Resilience Framework – organizing for sustained viability (2017 coming) she and her co-editor have developed a theoretical resilience factor model. She has published in journals such as Journal of Working Life Studies, Economic and Industrial Democracy and International Journal of Operations & Production Management.

Viveka Torell is Ph D in ethnology, Senior lecturer in Textile management at the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås. Main research area is textiles and clothing from cultural perspectives with a focus on consumption. Children’s clothes have been a topic of special interest. She has studied discourses on 20th century children’s clothes in Sweden (Berggren Torell 2003, 2007) and she is working on an ethnographic study of dressing situations in two pre-schools. Latest publication was Negotiations of gender discourse: experiences of co-education in a Swedish sports initiative for children, in Sport and Society (2016).



Today, fashion-interested mothers are active online sharing opinions and information on children’s clothing. As consumers they are involved in a variety of activities, participating in discussions, sharing knowledge with other mothers, and contributing to affect consumer behaviour. By examining conversations in five internet forums for mothers on children’s clothing the aim of this article is to discover various self-presentations of motherhood. As our theoretical framework we use Pierre Bourdieu and Erwin Goffman. Based on 284 posted messages in these internet forums we identified how mothers in their self-presentations position themselves by using different habitus and capital when it comes to children’s participation, gender norms, hierarchy and status. We also found some consumer uncertainty. The self-presentations can be seen both as ways to share experiences of motherhood and mothering, and as expressions of doing motherhood in public sphere. At times children become tools for impression management and mothers’ indirect self-presentations and extended selves. In doing so they use Bourdieu’s different kinds of capital. Children’s fashion is communicated both through writing and by showing photos, whereby the mothers contribute to how style and identity are created, both linguistically and visually. The present study provides a starting point for further research on how mother internet forums affect consumer behaviour and ethical debate about children’s being, becoming and belonging in relation to motherhood and the new media culture.

Electronic Self-Presentations: Mothers’ Online Discussions on Children’s Clothes

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