A discourse analytic study of five decades of parenting discourses in Hong Kong: Implications for family quality of life
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractBackground: The discourse analytic study reported is the first of a three-part mixed-methods design of the research project. Its aim is to map generational shifts (if any) of professional discourses on parenting propagated in government-aided public education effort. The result of which will be adopted as a contextual background for analysing narrative accounts (the second part) of parenting and triangulating with survey results of beliefs, goals, values, and practices of parenting reported by five cohorts of parents (from before the 1960s to the present).
Main body: A purposive sample of 48 items was selected from a corpus of 1,365 items in the FLERC (Family Life Education Resource Center). Selection was based on a set of parameters that maximize media-type diversity, user popularity, and temporal dispersion of publication/production years of the sampled items.
Sampled items went through a three-step analysis. The first step was sample item selection guided by a set of discourse analytic questions. Second step summarized answers to these questions for profiling in a tabular form that facilitated comparison amongst sampled items published/produced in the same era (e.g. the 1980’s). The third step involved a critical analysis and the same-/across-era comparative analyses of the sampled items.
Major findings are: (a) expert knowledge for parenting has been singularly privileged; (b) experts have been propagating highly contested claims, advice, and opinions; (c) branding folk practice/knowledge as ‘traditional’ has been adopted as a strategy to marginalize what people know about and how they ‘do’ parenting, thus motivating them to heed professional guidance; (d) parent education has been used as a primary site (and also a state instrument) of discursive formations for regulating parenthood; and (e) parenting discourses have over the past decades proffered a variety of category labels to classify ‘deficient’ parents.
Discussion: These findings are discussed in the Foucauldian critical tradition regarding the ethics of regulating parenthood by the helping professions to caution against professional dominance in the domestic sphere of parenting for the unintended consequence of disempowering parents, thus breeding a new generation of ‘anxious parents’.
All Author(s) ListKwong W. M., Lam C. M., To S. M., Shek D. T. L.
Name of Conference16th ISQOL Annual Conference: Promotion of Quality of Life in the Changing World
Start Date of Conference14/06/2018
End Date of Conference16/06/2018
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2018
Month6
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsDiscourse analysis, shifts in parenting discourse, parent education, professional dominance, disempowerment, anxious parents

Last updated on 2018-20-11 at 11:14