Discourse of motherhood: a comparative study of interview narratives of American and Japanese women
(University of Tsukuba)
Paper short abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the idea of motherhood and the self in its relations is manifested through the interview narratives of American and Japanese women, telling their experiences of child-birth and child-raising.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, I describe how the discourse of motherhood is differently constructed through interview narratives by comparing stories told by American women and Japanese women towards the researcher in their respective languages. For the purpose of the study, I analyze video-recorded interview narratives of child-birth and child-raising experiences told by American women residing in Arizona, US and Japanese women residing in Ibaraki, Japan. I particularly focus my analysis on the speaker's stance or position-taking vis-à-vis their ideas of mothers, wives, or women, as well as towards the interlocutor (= the interviewer) and the interactional context that is created within the here and now of the communal grounds. I look into assessment strategies, voices performed through reported speech, and the use of laughter, to see how the speaker position herself vis-à-vis the voices of others, such as other family members or authorities. In conclusion, I show how these two groups of women take on the stances towards the interview narrative, which will consequently demonstrate how social roles and identities are performed on an interactional level. Through the presentation, I hope to demonstrate how narratives are oriented towards the contextual and situational manifestations of different selves and identities, and how narratives are indeed imbedded within culture.
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