Money and relationships online: communication and norm formation in women’s discussions of couple resource allocation

LSHTM Population Studies Group Seminar

Dr Shireen Kanji
Reader in Work and Organisation, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham

Research on intra-household resource allocation practices has largely ignored the role of communication within but especially beyond the household. This article shows that discussions engaged in outside of the household shed light on intra-household deliberation and also contribute to an understanding of how norms are formed and used in discussions and negotiations. Using data from the website Mumsnet, and grounding our analysis in a framework that combines the literature on gender norms in allocation practices with insights from the study of online communication, we contribute to the sociological literature on household distribution in three ways: first, we show that women use discussion sites like Mumsnet to clarify and sometimes contest social norms regarding money and relationships; second, we show that users conceive the ability to communicate with partners as a source of 'relationship power' and use online discussion with other women to develop that skill; third, we argue that sites like Mumsnet provide fresh insights into household resource allocation processes. We conclude with a broader discussion of the role of communication in household distribution and the value of online data for understanding such processes. Authors: Liz Moor and Shireen Kanji.

Shireen Kanji is Reader in Work and Organisation at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Her work focuses on the connections between paid and unpaid work, production and reproduction. Her research is situated in the intersection of gender, work and social inequality. Current research includes the exploration of the actual and preferred working hours of older men and women in Europe.


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