Mother runners in the blogosphere: A discursive psychological analysis of online recreational athlete identities

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Objectives:Qualitative research on physically active mothers has shown that recreational sport may allow women to resist good mother ideals that often constrain exercise. The purpose of this study was to extend this understanding in a socio-cultural context by examining how recreational athlete mother identities were constructed within one form of new media - blogging.Design:A qualitative approach grounded in discursive psychology was used to theorize athlete mother identities as subject positions constructed within particular discourses circulated within a blog.Method:Critical discourse analysis of 30 stories and 177 reader comments from the North American online running community Another Mother Runner, was conducted. Visual data analysis of 102 images accompanying stories also contextualized the textual meanings of discourses and subject positions.Results:Two primary discourses were identified: discourse of transformation and empowerment and a discourse of disruption and resolution. Subject positions constructed within these two intersecting discourses were role mother/advocate and resilient mother runner.Conclusions:This study extends discursive psychology literature in sport and exercise psychology as well as media work on athlete mother identities within sport psychology into the realm of the internet and identity construction.HighlightsUnderstandings of recreational mother athletes in socio-cultural context are extended by studying a running blog.Cultural meanings and identity meanings were explored via discursive psychology and critical discourse analysis.Discourses offer emancipative and constraining potential through blogging for athlete mothers.Identities or subject positions constructed within discourses offer resistance within one particular internet space.

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