Communicating a ‘Time-out’ in Parent-Child Conflict: Embodied Interaction, Domestic Space and Discipline in a Reality TV Parenting Programme

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Abstract

In 2003, a new reality TV genre appeared on British public television built on the spectacle of the parenting of so-called disturbed or problem children. This paper focuses on The House of Tiny Tearaways, a programme in which three families are invited to reside in a specially designed house together with a resident clinical psychologist. Such a programme allows us to explore a range of issues, including (a) how a family assembles itself spatially and coordinates its activities across the lived architectures of the home; and (b) how a child is disciplined in and through the embodied activities, spatial formations and talk of the parents. The paper draws upon mediated discourse analysis and conversation analysis – inflected by contemporary understandings of discipline, space and place – in order to analyse the phenomenon of the ‘time-out’, a generalised ‘technique’ of parentcraft that is used to discipline young children who are misbehaving. Rather than debate the merits of the ‘time-out’ as an appropriate disciplinary instrument, this paper explores the local, emergent and negotiated accomplishment of disciplinary practices of temporal and spatial restraint that involve embodied (inter)action, furniture, objects, and the lived architecture of the domestic sphere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume41
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2017-2032
Number of pages16
ISSN0378-2166
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • discipline
  • governance
  • discourse studies
  • place bound activities
  • space
  • conversation analysis
  • video micro analysis
  • parenting competencies
  • home
  • reality television

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