No Such Thing as a Parenting Expert

Defending what matters about family life


I am a researcher, writer and lecturer, based in London. As a sociologist with a strong interest in family life, I have conducted research into contemporary single living, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, the regulation of fertility treatment, and the uses and abuses of biological thinking.

My book, Neuroparenting: The Expert Invasion of Family Life, challenges the rise of neuroparenting – the argument that new knowledge emerging from neuroscience can tell us how to raise our children.

Before returning to academia to undertake a PhD in 2001, I set up and ran The Maverick Club, a roving club for ‘masterless, unorthodox’ individuals.


  • Sociologist with a growing international reputation for published work on changing constructions of the ‘parent’ and the ‘child’.  
  • Expertise in translating high quality research into teaching including: sociology of the family; demographic trends; parenting; health, medicalisation and therapeutics; sex, gender and intimacy; risk culture; social construction of social problems; research methods.
  • Active engagement with UK and international policy trends including: the use and abuse of neuroscience; the turn to ‘parenting’;  the ‘first three years movement’; Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); the regulation of reproduction (contraception, abortion and fertility); family law, adoption and sibling relationships.
  • Well-versed in methods of engaging practitioners, policy-makers and the public.
  • Expertise in qualitative research methods including: research design; UNCRC-compliant involvement of children and young people; recruitment strategies; qualitative interviewing; focus groups; qualitative data analysis (including software).
  • Proven experience of developing teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, across varied institutions and diverse student populations.
  • Committed and energetic colleague with very strong organisational skills, including events organisation within and beyond academia.
  • Flexible engagement with theory in sociology, politics, social policy, law and philosophy, combined with a historical approach, allows for curriculum development with strong appeal to students of sociology and other disciplines.