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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 34, Issue 6


Believe me when I say that this is not an attack on American parents”: The intercultural in intercultural parenting books

Patricia von Münchow
  • Corresponding author
  • Université Paris Descartes, Faculté de sciences humaines et sociales-Sorbonne, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France
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Published Online: 2015-09-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2014-0058


Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Chua 2011) and Bringing up bébé: One American mother discovers the wisdom of French parenting (Druckerman 2012) are two recent global bestsellers belonging to a relatively new discursive genre: the intercultural parenting book. The purpose of this article is to present the first findings of an extensive study on this category of texts. I will show in what ways Franco-American intercultural parenting books (FAIPBs) display intercultural features: how do their authors, who not only have intercultural experience but write about this experience, negotiate competing practices and discourses about childrearing from different cultural contexts in their personal narratives? First, the study is placed in the theoretical framework of Cross-Cultural Discourse Analysis. The analysis then focuses on how the authors portray their own intercultural development and interact with their readers to foster intercultural development on their behalf. Finally, the discussion highlights how non-child-centred child rearing, which the authors culturally situate as being a French practice, is discursively promoted. A comparison with “monocultural” guides shows the influence of the community in which the authors were first socialized on their discursive productions, even when they explicitly criticize this community for its childrearing practices.

Keywords: discourse analysis; contrastive studies; intercultural analysis; discourse of parenting


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-09-02

Published in Print: 2015-11-01

Citation Information: Multilingua, Volume 34, Issue 6, Pages 797–820, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2014-0058.

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