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

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British Journal of Sociology

Published online on

Abstract

--- - |2 Abstract 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. The article concludes with a broader discussion of the role of communication in household distribution and the value of online data for understanding such processes. - The British Journal of Sociology, EarlyView.