Jai Mackenzie


Jai began her professional life as a secondary school teacher, teaching English and Alternative Pathways at Waverley School, in Bordesley Green, between 2005 and 2013.  She returned to Higher Education in 2013, combining her fascination with social norms of motherhood and social media communication in a study of the British online parenting forum Mumsnet Talk. She completed her PhD at Aston University in 2016, and her first book, Language, Gender and Parenthood Online (Routledge, 2019) is based on this research. Between 2016 and 2018, Jai worked as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of English Language & Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. In 2018 she was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, and subsequently took up the role of Principal Investigator for the Marginalised Families Online project at the University of Nottingham between 2018 and 2022. During this time, she explored the role of digital media in the lives of marginalised family groups in the UK, focusing on LGBT, solo, and/or adoptive parents. Her recent monograph, Connected Parenting (Bloomsbury), is based on this work. Jai’s research focuses primarily on the ways in which gendered, sexual and familial roles, relationships and practices are shaped and (re)produced in digital contexts. She has undertaken a range of collaborative and single-authored research in this area, and has edited a special issue of Discourse, Context and Media on the theme of Motherhood Online. Jai is convenor of the Language, Gender and Sexuality special interest group, which sits within the British Association of Applied Linguistics, and she is a member of the editorial board for Discourse, Context and Media.


Research Interests

Jai is interested in how gendered, sexual and familial roles, relationships and identities are shaped and (re)produced in digital contexts. She recently completed a project funded by the British Academy, which explored the role of digital media in the lives of marginalised family groups in the UK, focusing on LGBT, solo, and/or adoptive parents. She is committed to innovative, ethical and socially engaged research practice, especially in relation to internet research.


Jai is the programme lead for Applied Writing. She teaches courses in Applied Writing, Applied Humanities and English. Her areas of expertise include Identity and Community, Communication and (New) Media, and Applied Writing in a range of contexts (including social justice, healthcare and business communication).

Administrative Responsibilities

Programme Lead for Applied Writing

Membership of Professional Organisations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA)

Member of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)

Convenor of the BAAL Language, Gender & Sexuality special interest group

Member of the editorial board for Discourse, Context and Media.


Other Activities


2021-2022. A Guide to Social Media for New and Prospective Adopters. In collaboration with Adoption UK; Funded by the University of Nottingham ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

2018-2022. Marginalised Families Online: Exploring the role of digital media for parents in diverse family groups. Funded by the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

2013-2016. Constructing Motherhood through Digital Interaction. Funded by the School of Languages and Social Sciences (LSS) PhD Studentship, Aston University.



Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Coffey-Glover, L. and Mackenzie, J. (2023) ‘Balancing family time with fighting villains’: Action and agency in the representation of gendered Disney Heroes. Gender and Language

Mackenzie, J. (2023) Negotiating normativities of gender, sexuality and the family in gay parents’ small stories. Journal of Language and Sexuality.

Jones, L., Chalupnik, M., Mackenzie, J., and Mullany, L. (2022) ‘#NotAllMen know when to shut up’: Repurposing hashtags as a strategy of resistance in online feminist discourse. Discourse, Context & Media. Online first.

Mackenzie, J. (2021). ‘I had to work through what people would think of me’: Negotiating ‘problematic single motherhood’ as a solo or single adoptive mum. Critical Discourse Studies, Online First.

Mackenzie, J. and Zhao, S. (2021) Motherhood online: Issues and opportunities for discourse analysis. Discourse, Context & Media, 40.

Mackenzie, J. (2018) “Good mums don’t, apparently, wear make-up”: Negotiating discourses of gendered parenthood in Mumsnet Talk. Gender and Language, 12(1), pp. 114-135.

Mackenzie, J. (2017) “Can we have a child exchange?” Constructing and subverting the ‘good mother’ through play in Mumsnet Talk. Discourse & Society 28(3), pp. 296-312.

Mackenzie, J. (2017) Identifying informational norms in Mumsnet Talk: A reflexive-linguistic approach to internet research ethics. Applied Linguistics Review 8(2-3), pp. 293-314.


Mackenzie, J. (2023) Connected Parenting: Digital discourse and diverse family practices. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Mackenzie, J. (2019) Language, Gender and Parenthood Online: Negotiating motherhood in Mumsnet Talk. Oxon and New York: Routledge.

Chapters in Books

Mackenzie, J. (2021) Analyzing gendered discourses online. In: J. Baxter and J. Angouri (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. Routledge, pp. 408-421.

Mackenzie, J. (2020) Digital interaction. In: S. Adolphs and D. Knight (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of English Language and Digital Humanities. Routledge, pp. 49-65.

Mackenzie, J., Coffey-Glover, L., McGlashan, M. and Payne, S. (2020) Disco Divas and Heroic Knights: A critical multimodal analysis of gender roles in ‘Create the World’ Lego cards. In: C.R. Caldas-Coulthard, Innovations and Challenges: Women, language and sexism. Routledge, pp. 60-76.



Workshop facilitator, ‘Ethics in Linguistics’, Lorentz Center, Leiden, 09.05.2022 to 13.05.2022.

Workshop leader, ‘From inception to impact: Developing a study of gender identities online’. #GenderChallenge: Exploring Gender Identities online conference, co-hosted by the University of Greifswald and the University of Konstanz, 18.07.2021.

Workshop leader, ‘Managing complex multimodal datasets: An introduction to NVivo for linguists’. University of Oslo, 03.2019.


Recent Conference Addresses and Papers

‘Balancing family time with fighting villains’: Gender, agency and social action in the representation of Disney Heroes. British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Conference, 01.09.2022.

‘How I overcame my feelings of shame’: Single motherhood at the intersection of gender, sexuality, age and class. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD) Conference, University of Bergamo, 06.07.2022.

Connected Parenting: Digital media and peer support as a parent using donor conception (invited talk). The Donor Conception Network annual conference, London, 23.04.2022.

Connected Parenting: The collective, epistemic and affective dimensions of parents’ digital interaction (invited talk). Edinburgh University Linguistics Society, 16.02.2022.

‘We’re just two dads’: Negotiating normativities in gay parents’ small stories. International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) Conference, Queen Mary University London, 06.2021.

‘Please send me healing vibes’: Affective connection in an online queer community. Lavender Language and Linguistics Conference, California Institute of Integral Studies, 05.2021.

Recontextualising parent-related knowledge online: Comments, retweets and reposts (invited talk). Applied Linguistics Research Circle, University of Reading 17.11.2020.

Parenting with connection: Sharing life lessons in single mothers’ digital media (invited talk). British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Conference, 04.09.2020.

‘It is 100% normal’: Negotiating family normativities as a single-mum-by-choice (invited talk). Language Ideology and Power Research Group, Lancaster University, 03.2020.

‘It makes the world smaller’: Parenting with connection in extra-ordinary families (invited talk). Department of Swedish seminar series, University of Gothenburg, and Uppsala University. 03.2020.

Researching online parenting communities: A context-sensitive approach (invited talk). Department of Education seminar series, Middlesex University, 02.2020.

‘Without them I wouldn’t have survived’: Parenting with connection as a single adopter (invited talk). Newcastle Critical Discourse Group seminar series, Newcastle University, 01.2020.


Guidelines and online materials

Our Stories: Exploring UK Family Lives – public engagement film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGQJLhYc1LY&feature=youtu.be

Atkins, S., Knight, D., Mackenzie, J., Barber, K., Grant, T., Copland, F., Baker, P. and Wray, A. (working party for the British Association for Applied Linguistics) (2021) Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics. https://www.baal.org.uk/who-we-are/resources/

Adolphs, S., Angouri, J., Harrison, T., Mackenzie, J., Potts, D., (working party for the British Association for Applied Linguistics) (2016) Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics: Updated. Available at http://www.baal.org.uk/goodpractice_full_2016.pdf