Cross-cultural framing strategies of the breastfeeding movement and mothers’ responses
Newman, Harmony Danyelle
This dissertation examines the relationship between structural-level frames and individual behaviors using the case of breastfeeding in the United States and Canada. More specifically, it examines macro-level breastfeeding activism and the ways in which messages promulgated by breastfeeding activists affect how the intended recipients—mothers—construct infant feeding in their own lives. This dissertation employs a comparative multi-level research design consisting of content analysis and in-depth interviewing and it straddles gaps in the existing literatures on health social movements, social movement framing, and motherhood. The study examines the relationship between strategic risk framing at the national level, in the United States and Canada, and individual responses to these messages in Nashville and Toronto. Findings demonstrate the importance of discursive opportunities given the heterogeneity in framing strategies across organization type (i.e., medical, government, or lay activist) and geographical location. Interviews with mothers illustrate the struggle women experience balancing the hegemonic expectation of breastfeeding and the challenges of their lived experiences.