Holding back and hidden family displays: Reflections on aunthood as a morally charged category

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This paper explores aunthood as a morally charged category. By conducting a thematic analysis, we analyse advice-seeking posts published in Dear Savvy Auntie, an American online advice forum for aunts. Drawing on Finch and Mason (1993), Ribbens McCarthy et al. (2000) and May (2008), we examine the moral tales of aunthood and particularly why some aunts might feel that they cannot openly articulate their sense of responsibility within the family context, and the consequences of this. This leads us to assert that one way of ‘doing’ moral aunthood can be a form of non-doing as theorised by Scott (2018,) and allows us to examine how aunthood is done and displayed (Finch, 2007; Morgan, 1996; 2011; Nelson, 2006) in ways which are often hidden and unacknowledged. We suggest that caution, avoidance and self-restraint may be routine aspects of displaying aunthood and of working out family responsibilities and family obligations.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Sociology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2021