Defence strategies in an online community of caregivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to understand caregivers’ discursive constructions and responses to their unwanted (family and social) role as resulting in exchanges on social media. Online group platforms are understood as particularly suitable for the expression of intimate feelings among adults, for meeting and exhibiting stigma issues, and for the circulation of information and support (Suler, 2004; McCormack, 2010; Pounds et al., 2018).Design/methodology/approachThis paper draws from digital Conversation Analysis (Giles et al., 2015), and considers data after combining quantitative (corpus analysis) and qualitative methods, from a critical discourse analysis perspective. The Stereotype Content Model (SCM; Fiske et al., 2002) is used together with collocation analysis to understand categorisations, which ultimately result in a defence strategy (Assimakopoulos et al., 2017) to negotiate the Self and the Others (Tannen, 1992).FindingsConsidering that the digital environment allows a discursive negotiation of identities, data suggest that these interactions are expressions of membership construction, group solidarity and empowerment, that normalise and legitimise emotions with the ultimate goal of (self-)acceptance.Originality/valueThis study provides a basis for further research on caregivers’ self-positioning in power-relations with others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalWorking with Older People
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care


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