Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Ginette Lafrenière

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


When identity is conceptualized as a fluid and ongoing process that is mutually influenced by subjective and constructed experience, an interplay can occur that engenders and signifies collective life. With an acknowledgement of motherhood as a politically and emotionally charged identity experience, and asserting the capacity of social policy to sustain a constructed ideology, this paper explores a conversation that occurred between 28 mothers in Canada. The site of this conversation was an on-line journal (blog). Using a participatory narrative action method of research, the mothers participated as co-researchers, conducting a narrative analysis of one another’s narratives and a policy and discourse analysis on the current Canadian maternity benefits policy. This study explores the ways in which the mothers encountered and engaged one another, told their stories and shared in the development of critical awareness. Throughout the various stages of the study, the author conceptualizes identity as being both constructed and subjective where tension, negotiation, resistance and reform can occur. This conceptualization of identity is explored in an investigation of the ways in which a collective conversation could occur, and the changes that were the result of collective, inter-subjective experience.

Convocation Year


Included in

Social Work Commons