Ventriloqual Voicings of Parenthood in Graduate School: an Intersectionality Analysis of Work-life Negotiations

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Intersectionality, ventriloquism, work-life negotiation, tensions, parental leave

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Taking a ventriloqual approach to intersectionality analysis, this study investigates the communicative constitution of graduate student parenthood and their work-life negotiations. Analyzing 30 in-depth interviews, we found that figures – ideal graduate student worker norms, gender ideologies of work and family, and cultural values of family and child-rearing responsibilities – intersected with one another in shaping the experiences for graduate student parents. These intersectionalities belong to broader structures that constrain graduate students’ career and personal-life choices to fulfill/disrupt roles in navigating parenthood, yet the interplays of various aspects of intersectionality create space for transformation. The study contributes to an emergent grounded-in-action perspective of intersectionality to uncover systems of interlocking oppressions and lived tensions. The theoretical and practical implications of nonhuman agents acting to enable and constrain sustainable work-life communication are presented.

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Journal of Applied Communication Research, v. 46, issue 2, p. 223-242