Watch with baby: cinema, parenting and community

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This article examines the experiences of women attending dedicated screenings in one Glasgow cinema with their babies. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with 25 women, the article explores the possibilities of pleasure that exist in this context, arguing that watching with baby is most consistently experienced as pleasurable when women are able to reconcile their expectations as adult cinema-goers with their new roles as mothers. Pleasure depends less on film choice than on the possibilities for community and for intimacy that are created in the reconfigured cinema space. The emphasis on the cinema space, its organization and the relationships made possible within it is reminiscent of historical accounts of cinema-going and poses something of a challenge to more contemporary accounts of audiences organized around film texts. This study also begins to consider the ways in which this particular leisure practice fits with - and occasionally conflicts with - discourses of ‘good' parenting in women's accounts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2010


  • audiences
  • intimacy
  • cinema
  • community
  • parenting


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