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Constructing Motherhood and Daughterhood Across the Lifespan


Edited By Allison M. Alford and Michelle Miller-Day

Constructing Motherhood and Daughterhood Across the Lifespan explores the complex dynamics between mother and daughter over the lifespan. The editors believe that these vital family roles are socially and communicatively constructed, shaped, and molded as mothers and daughters navigate, respond to, and negotiate cultural and familial discourses. Aimed at undergraduate students, this timely book includes course activities and discussion questions in every chapter and a complete term syllabus to enhance a professor’s teaching, providing a smooth route for adoption as a course text. The book also builds on and contributes to the critical and theoretical research in family communication, media studies, and gender studies, delving into the nuanced communication surrounding motherhood and daughterhood in the United States.

“In this volume, editors Allison M. Alford and Michelle Miller-Day and the chapter authors explore communication and negotiating mother-daughter dyads in a breadth of family types and across all points in the lifespan. This insightful array of chapters points to the centrality of daughters and mothers in the network of primary and external family relationships and the different challenges of family identity and enactment from parenting, to navigating change, to later years as families, and often daughters, provide care for family members. Editors Alford and Miller-Day share a goal of stimulating courses focused on the topic and end the volume with practical resources as a starting point. Whether adopting the book for a whole course or a specialization within a family course, this collection will be a treasure for students, scholars, and practitioners.” Dawn O. Braithewaite, Ph.D., Willa Cather Professor of Communication Studies and Chair, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“This trailblazing book is unparalleled on the current market. This highly-accessible compilation deftly translates cutting-edge research on mother-daughter communication for the undergraduate and graduate classroom. The inquiry-based format of the imminently readable chapters invites students into researchers’ processes of discovery and meaning-making. Moreover, this volume pedagogically advances the communication discipline. Based on fifteen years of teaching experience, the final chapter provides an invaluable guide for instructors interested in developing their own courses on mother-daughter communication. I heartily recommend this text!” Elizabeth A. Suter, Director of Graduate Teaching Instructors, University of Denver

“This book offers important insights that illustrate the significance of how mothers and daughters interface with each other. Often, books either emphasize the mother’s point of view or concentrate on the daughters’ perspective in relation to the mothers. This book, crafted by Allison M. Alford and Michelle Miller-Day, gives the reader a different vantage point to understand a complicated relationship between mothers and daughters. The authors advocate for examining motherhood and daughterhood as socially constructed. “The perspective Alford and Miller-Day ascribe allows fluidity in the way relationships between and among mothers and daughters are defined. Through the element of communication, the authors illustrate the meaning of motherhood and daughterhood across the lifespan. “To accomplish these goals, the book presents a number of contexts that reflect multiple aspects of change and recalibration of mother-daughter relationships in everyday life. For example, this book helps readers consider outside influences such as the significance of media representation of mothers and daughters and new technologies. They identify life issues such as coping with pregnancy and disabilities, as well as navigating difficult conversations such as sexuality and stages of life. “Overall, this book is rich with insights that are easily assessable and clear about the way communication functions to yield a better understanding of the mother-daughter relationship. This is a must-read for the general public and for researchers interested in this area of inquiry.” Sandra Petronio, Director, Communication Privacy Management Center; Senior Affiliate Faculty, Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics; Professor, Department of Communication Studies, School of Liberal Arts, Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis; National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar