No Such Thing as a Parenting Expert

Defending what matters about family life

Parenting Culture Studies

pcs cover

‘Parenting Culture Studies’ 

Why do we live at a time when the minutiae of how parents raise their children – how they feed them, talk to them, play with them or discipline them – have become routine sources of public debate and policy making? Why are there now so-called ‘parenting experts’, and social movements like Attachment Parenting, telling us that ‘science says’ what parents do is the cause of and solution to social problems?

Parenting Culture Studies provides in-depth answers to these features of contemporary social life drawing on a wide range of sources from sociology, history, anthropology, psychology and policy studies to do so, covering developments in both Europe and North America. Key chapters cover the ‘intensification of parenting’, the rise of the ‘parenting expert’, the politicizing of parent-child relationships, and the weakening of bonds between generations.

Five essays detail contemporary examples of obsessions with parenting, discussing drinking and pregnancy, attachment theory, neuroscience and family policy, fathering, and ‘helicopter parenting’. The Introduction situates parental determinism in the wider context of risk consciousness and the demise of social confidence about how to approach the future. Comprehensive in scope and accessibly written, this book will be an indispensable resource for students, researchers, policy-makers and parents seeking a deeper understanding of the debates surrounding parenting and society today.

Jan Macvarish outlines her chapters, ‘Babies’ Brains and Parenting Culture: The Insensitive Mother’ and ‘The Politics of Parenting’.

You can  watch all the authors talk about the book here.

What reviewers are saying about Parenting Culture Studies:

“These essays represent a sophisticated and courageous examination of parenting orthodoxies that have passed too easily into fact…. Sober, trenchant, witty and important.” – Zoe Williams, The Guardian

“The authors of this timely collection are in the forefront of analyses of contemporary parenting. The discourses and practices of parenting are rarely held up for sustained critique. Readers of this book will be challenged to question the politics and rationales of parenting cultures in this provocative and cogently argued book.” – Deborah Lupton, University of Sydney, Australia

“This terrific collection of essays probes and destroys many of the reigning orthodoxies that have turned 21st century parenting into an activity marked by cultural and individual anxiety and the over-involvement of experts and policymakers. The scholars contributing to this volume together make a profound contribution to the study of parenting culture.” – Janet Golden, Rutgers University, USA

Read a review of the book by Stephanie Knaak on the Huffington Post, this from Nancy McDermott on spiked, this from Brid Hehir in Community Practitioner or this from Katie Dow in the Times Higher.

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