Publication details [#62684]

Mackenzie, Jai. 2017. ‘Can we have a child exchange?’ Constructing and subverting the ‘good mother’ through play in Mumsnet Talk. Discourse & Society 28 (3) : 296–312.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
SAGE Publications


This paper employs a feminist poststructuralist approach to examine how contributors to a single thread from the discussion forum of a popular British parenting website, Mumsnet Talk, position themselves as ‘good mothers’. The qualitative analysis proposed here, drawing on the concept of indexicality and Goffman’s ‘frame analysis’, displays that Mumsnet users are able to negotiate the discursive forces that fuse to produce the good mother subject position in innovative ways. They are able to position themselves as good mothers in a way that is both normative and transformative – to both justify and undermine the discourses that work to position them in this way. It is proposed that the Mumsnet Talk forum can be considered as a space in which dominant discourses pursue to position individuals in limited gendered subjectivities, but it is also a productive site for the negotiation, opposition and overthrow of cultural norms.