Date of Award:

2011

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department name when degree awarded

American Studies

Advisor/Chair:

Patricia M. Grant

Abstract

Communities in cyberspace have been present since the earliest days of home computers, when connecting to the web meant logging in to the WELL program. In 1994, when the Internet became more accessible to the public, and home computers were no longer considered a novelty, millions flocked to this new, virtual frontier that allowed them to connect with anyone around the globe.

Folkloristics has been largely concerned with the tangible—what we can touch, hear, taste, and see. As the frontier of the web expanded, many folklorists contracted away from using it as a means to explore a new branch of folklore: virtual communities and all of the folkloric nuances that they possess. Fortunately, in recent years, folklorists have recognized the value and validity of the Internet folklore.

This thesis is concerned with a very specific folk group, Mormon mommy bloggers, and how they function both in the blogosphere at large and the smaller niche of Mormon blogs, the bloggernacle. Mormon mommy blogs are distinctive in their vernacular, post material, and side bar badges. These blogs also provide a window not just into Mormon life, but also ideas about how faith can interact with identity and womanhood.

Mormon mommy blogs are a vibrant genre of both Internet folklore and Mormon folklore. Mormon mommy blogs also serve as ways to undertake record-keeping for posterity and, for some, are a means of proselytizing, which are two important aspects of Mormon culture. Mormon mommy blogs also allow for frank conversations about expectations of the Mormon culture and the impossibilities of being the perfect Mormon woman. For non-Mormons, Mormon mommy blogs are a form of escapism into the lives of women who are confounding the notion that housewives and mothers are woefully unfulfilled. The fields of folkloristics, women and gender studies, and even religious studies could all benefit from examining mommy and Mormon mommy blogs. (102 pages)

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on February 15, 2013.

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