“You Have No Story, Yet!” The Role of the Online Community in Shaping Women’s ‘My Stories’ about the Journey to Motherhood
AbstractThis article offers a folkloristic analysis of telling personal experience stories in the Estonian Midwives Association’s Family School discussion forum (www.perekool.ee), focusing on the Conception, Pregnancy and Childbirth sub-forums. In the article women’s My Stories about their journey to motherhood are under discussion. The central question is how the practice of telling these stories is shaped and affected by the peculiarities of the online community, its communication space, traditions, and daily operation. The article seeks to answer this question in relation to the following topics: accepted and non-accepted topics and experiences; the message of the stories; the structure of the stories; vocabulary competence; and the style of storytelling. From the theoretical perspective, the focus is on participatory storytelling, that is, on the interplay of the specific online environment, narrator, story, and group, as well as the process by which the teller and the audience co-create the stories.
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