Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Media Studies

Supervisor

Dr. Romayne Smith-Fullerton

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Pamela McKenzie

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

This thesis explores the controversial subject of online breast milk sharing through the lens of Social Positioning Theory and interpretative repertoire analysis. I examine medical statements, Facebook wall posts on the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global group and selected Canadian provincial groups, as well as a selection of Canadian print news media coverage pertaining to milk sharing to discover how this practice is discussed. I argue that the medical literature discusses milk sharing as unsafe, informal, and a generally unacceptable means of obtaining breast milk, whereas the HM4HB group members discuss it as a safe, intimate experience between donor and recipient, and more meaningful and accessible than obtaining milk from anonymous donors at a milk bank. I also argue that in a selection of news stories and columns, Canadian print journalists privilege the maternal discourse and offer a sympathetic outlook on milk sharing to their audience.


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