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Societies 2014, 4(2), 330-350; doi:10.3390/soc4020330

“Maternal Devices”, Social Media and the Self-Management of Pregnancy, Mothering and Child Health

Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 5 June 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
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In recent years the smartphone has revolutionised lay people’s management of health and illness, particularly in regards to pregnancy and parenting. This article analyses smartphone applications, or apps, and social media platforms as mediating technologies which act as performative devices. These devices encourage particular enactments of subjectivity and technologies of the self which combine the expert patient ideal with ideologies of mothering. Some apps and social media can be disciplinary and invoke biological responsibility in various ways including the monitoring of specific behaviours via “push responsibilisation”. Apps claim to allow for greater convenience, connectivity, flexibility, efficiency, and what will be characterised in this article as the “tidbitisation” of information. This article suggests the ways in which health-conscious pregnant or maternal subjects are likely to view apps and social media sites as a means to improve and monitor their pregnancies, health, and their children’s development and health. View Full-Text
Keywords: applications; digital health; social media; pregnancy; mothering; responsibilisation applications; digital health; social media; pregnancy; mothering; responsibilisation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Johnson, S.A. “Maternal Devices”, Social Media and the Self-Management of Pregnancy, Mothering and Child Health. Societies 2014, 4, 330-350.

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