N. 10 (2024): The Discursive Construction of Contemporary Family Types

Single-Parent Families in Canada: A Positive Discourse Analysis of Non-Profit Organizations’ Websites

Maria Cristina Nisco
Università  degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"
Sole Alba Zollo
University of Napoli Federico II

Pubblicato 2024-06-27

Come citare

Nisco, M. C., & Zollo, S. A. (2024). Single-Parent Families in Canada: A Positive Discourse Analysis of Non-Profit Organizations’ Websites. De Genere - Rivista Di Studi Letterari, Postcoloniali E Di Genere, (10), 81–98. Recuperato da https://www.degenere-journal.it/index.php/degenere/article/view/202


Family patterns have diversified considerably in the last sixty years going beyond the married nuclear family (a married couple with children) and single-parent families are a now widely recognised phenomenon and family assemblage (UN 2017). Yet, single parents face not only several financial and practical challenges, but also social stigma and stereotyping (Sussman and Hanson 1995; Zartler 2014). In the context of Canada, despite the fact that the proportion of families with children has remained rather stable over the decades, the types of families with children have changed consistently, and over one-fifth of Canadian children are being raised by a lone parent. Against this backdrop, charities and associations are supporting single parents through a series of actions to reduce social stigma and make services more accessible to them. This study specifically aims to investigate how new concepts of family are discursively construed and conveyed, to frame single-motherhood from a different and more positive perspective. Following the tradition of Social Semiotics (Kress and van Leeuwen 2021) and research on Positive Discourse Analysis (Martin 2004; Bartlett 2012), this work analyses a range of multimodal resources available on the websites of three Canadian non-profit organizations. In particular, it focuses on how single-parent families are represented assuming that the resulting discursive construal can work to eradicate persistent cultural and social stereotypes.