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Modernity and the Communicative Management of Multiple Roles: The Case of the Worker-Parent.

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Golden, Annis G.
Journal Article
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The relations among interpersonal communication, self-identity, and conditions of modernity were explored in the context of work and parenting. The conceptualization of role construction as communicative process is an extension of the idea that social reality, which includes social and personal identity, is created through human interaction. Conditions of modernity intensify individuals' experience of self-identity as constructed rather than given, and heighten the constitutive function of interpersonal communication with respect to the definition and maintenance of role-identities. Data were obtained through in-depth interviews with eight dual earner couples in the early stages of their first-time transition to parenthood. Interview transcripts were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin's grounded theory approach. Three primary elements of role construction emerged from the respondents' accounts. Three features of modernity that have special relevance to this process are delineated: (1) the rise of conflicting expert systems; (2) the pluralization of social life-worlds; and (3) the prevalence of mediated communication. Evidence from the accounts of the functioning of elements of role construction under conditions associated with modernity is presented. (Author abstract)

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