Ellie Lee


Dr Ellie Lee is Reader in Social Policy at the University of Kent and Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. She is the co-author of Parenting Culture Studies (written with Charlotte Faircloth, Jennie Bristow and Jan Macvarish), published by Palgrave in 2014. Ellie researches, publishes and teaches in the areas of the sociology of reproduction, of health, and of the family. Her research and teaching draws on constructionist theories of social problems and sociological concepts such as risk consciousness and medicalisation to analyse the evolution of family policy and health policy. This work explores why everyday issues, for example, women having abortions or how mothers feed their babies, turn into major preoccupations for policy makers and become heated topics of wider public debate. With others at the University of Kent, she set up the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies in 2010. She also an Advisor to the Institute of Ideas and a Commissioning Editor for the journal Sociology Compass.

Jennie Bristow

Dr Jennie Bristow is a lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her recent book, Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) was based on her PhD research at the University of Kent, which developed Mannheim’s approach to explore how the Baby Boomer generation is defined and discussed in policy and media discourse, and why the Boomers appear to have become scapegoats for a range of social problems in the present day. Jennie is co-author (with Ellie Lee, Charlotte Faircloth and Jan Macvarish) of Parenting Culture Studies (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), and (with Frank Furedi) of Licensed to Hug (Civitas 2010, 2nd edition). Jennie is also author of Standing Up to Supernanny (Imprint Academic 2009), a short critique of contemporary parenting culture, and writes frequently for the print and online media. She is currently developing research around generations, education, and the sociology of knowledge.

Charlotte Faircloth

Dr Charlotte Faircloth is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Roehampton University in London, and a Visiting Scholar and founding member of CPCS. She completed her PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge,  exploring women’s experiences of attachment parenting and ‘full-term’ breastfeeding in London and Paris. She was Mildred Blaxter post-doctoral research fellow with the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, during which she completed her book ‘Militant Lactivism? Attachment parenting and intensive motherhood in the UK and France‘, published by Berghahn Books. She is interested cultures of parenthood; notions of body, gender and equality in care-giving and its implication for other relationships; and more broadly in knowledge claims around optimal forms of care. Whilst at Kent she was a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow working on a project entitled ‘Parenting: Gender, Intimacy and Equality’, the subject of this recent event and forthcoming publications. As well as editing several journal special issues, she recently  co-edited a volume entitled ‘Parenting in Global Perspective: Negotiating ideologies of kinship, self and politics‘, for Routledge, and is co-author of ‘Parenting Culture Studies‘ published by Palgrave.

Frank Furedi

Frank Furedi is Emeritus professor of Sociology, University of Kent and Visiting Professor, Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London.

During the past 15 years Furedi’s studies have been devoted to an exploration of the cultural developments that influence the construction of contemporary risk consciousness. During the past decade his research has been oriented towards the way that risk and uncertainty is managed by contemporary culture. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His Invitation To Terror; Expanding the Empire of the Unknown(2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of possibilistic thinking.  It develops the arguments contained in two previous books The Culture of Fear (2003) and Paranoid Parenting(2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society. His work on trust has been developed through a historical investigation of the meaning of authority, which was published by Cambridge University Press in October, 2013 as Authority, A Sociological History.

Furedi’s books and articles provide an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insight as a professional sociologist, Furedi has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. Furedi regularly comments on radio and television. In the past year he has appeared on Newsnight, Sky and BBC News, The Today Programme, Moral Maze and a variety of other radio television shows. His has been interviewed by the media in Australia, Canada, the United States, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Brazil, and Germany and other countries.

Katja-Haustein-WEBKatja Haustein

Katja Haustein is a Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. Before taking up this position in 2012, she studied Comparative Literature, German Literature, and History at the Free University, Berlin, and completed her PhD in French and German at the University of Cambridge. She was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge (2008-12), and a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence (2007-8). Her primary research interests are in modern French and German autobiographical writing in relation to visual culture; memory and identity; literature and the emotions; gender history; and art and medicine. She has published on conceptions of space in modern French literature, and on twentieth century autobiography and visual culture, including Regarding Lost Time: Photography, Identity, and Affect in Proust, Benjamin, and Barthes  (Oxford: Legenda, 2012). Among her most recent projects are a special journal issue on Roland Barthes for L’Esprit créateur (forthcoming Dec. 2015) which includes her essay on Barthes and pity, and an article on discourses on infant feeding in Imperial Germany. Katja is currently writing a cultural history of breastfeeding.

Jan Macvarish

Dr Jan Macvarish is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Kent. Her interests lie in the Macvarish photosociology of interpersonal relationships, parenting, family life, sex and intimacy. Her doctoral thesis (2007), entitled ‘The New Single Woman: Contextualising Individual Choice’, explored the construction of contemporary singleness. She is particularly interested in questions of morality and moralization in risk culture. She has explored the manifestation of these themes in the policy context through research on teenage parenthood, the regulation and provision of fertility treatment and most recently on the ‘use and abuse’ of neuroscience in family policy. She contributed two chapters to the Centre’s book, Parenting Culture Studies; Chapter Three ‘The Politics of Parenting’ and Essay Three ‘Babies’ Brains and Parenting Policy: The Insensitive Mother’. Her new book, Neuroparenting: The Expert Invasion of Family Life, is published by Palgrave Macmillan and traces the growing influence of ‘neuroparenting’ in British policy and politics.

Sally Sheldon

Sally Sheldon is a Professor in Kent Law School. With Richard Collier, she has published on fatherhood (Fragmenting Fatherhood, 2008) and father’s rights activism (‘Fathers’ Rights activism and Law Reform’, 2007). She has also written widely in the area of medical ethics and law, including a book on abortion law (Beyond Control: Medical Power and Abortion Law, 1997), and a co-edited collection of essays on Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (1998). More recently, she has studied amendments introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008), with specific regard to how they relate to ideas about parenthood.  She is currently researching the ethical and legal challenges posed by the online availability of medical abortion drugs.

Anna Strhan


Dr Anna Strhan is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent. She is currently writing a monograph based  on a three-year Leverhulme Trust-funded project, ‘The Faithful Child: Evangelicals and the Formation of Children in Modern Britain’. This seeks to examine the significance of childhood and parenting in British evangelicalism in different contexts ranging from everyday family and church life, formal and information educational contexts, to wider public debates about childhood and education concerned with the place of religion and secularism in contemporary society. She completed a PhD in in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, in 2010, and a PhD in Sociology of Religion at the University of Kent in 2012. Her research focuses on relations between religion, ethics, knowledge, embodiment, and modernity, conceived in broad terms. She is the author of Aliens and Strangers? The Struggle for Coherence in the Everyday Lives of Evangelicals (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Robbie Sutton

Dr Robbie Sutton is Reader in Psychology at the School of Psychology, University of Kent. His primary research interests are the social psychology of justice and social hierarchy, including gender hierarchies. Together with PhD students and colleagues, he studies the role of sexism, and in particular so-called “benevolent sexism”, in attitudes to women’s behaviour during pregnancy, childbirth, and while their children are growing up.  Benevolent sexism is an ideology that portrays women as more moral and aesthetic than men, and entitled to men’s protection and reverence. Robbie’s research shows that paradoxically, this kind of sexism is associated with belief that women are less important than their children.  As a result, it appears to underlie endorsement of a host of practices, including refraining from alcohol, exercise and many foodstuffs during pregnancy, refraining from anesthesia during childbirth, and attachment parenting practices and career sacrifice after children are born.  These findings suggest that sexist conceptions of motherhood are a significant driver of social and economic gender inequality.  Robbie is author of two books and some 60 journal articles and chapters in social psychology and related fields and sits on the boards of several scholarly journals.

Associates beyond Kent

Synnøve Bendixsen

Uni Rokkan

Synnøve Bendixsen is postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, and a researcher at Uni Rokkansenteret on the project “Parenting cultures and risk management in plural Norway”. Currently she works on irregular migrants and their access to health, as well as on political mobilization of irregular migrants in Norway. In 2010 Bendixsen defended her PhD thesis in Social Anthropology at Humboldt Universität (Berlin)/ Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) (co-tutelle) on Muslim youth and religiosity in Germany. She has worked as a consultant for International Migration and Urbanization at UNESCO, as a lecturer at the University of Kurdistan – Hewler (North Iraq), and been a visiting fellow at COMPAS, University of Oxford. Bendixsen is the co-editor in chief of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research. Since 2014 she is the Director of IMER Bergen. Bendixsen has published a number of articles and book chapters on irregular migrants and on Muslims in Europe, including “The Religious Identity of Young Muslim Women in Berlin. An Ethnographic Study.” (2013) by Brill publisher.

Geraldine Brady

GeraldineDr Geraldine Brady is a Senior Research Fellow at Coventry University. She has carried out a number of empirical research projects with children, young people and parents and is oriented to influencing social change in policy and practice. Geraldine’s research interests include: the barriers to social inclusion faced by young parents, young people’s views and attitudes towards sex, sexual health and teenage pregnancy, children and parents’ experiential accounts of the medically diagnosed condition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This work has allowed for the development of inclusive and participatory methods and given rise to research accounts which reflect on the relationships between research, policy and practice. Her current research is exploring links between deprivation and children’s chances of coming into contact with children’s services (Nuffield Foundation) and young people’s views of sexual consent and exploitation (British Academy/Leverhulme Trust).  She co-convenes the West Midlands Medical Sociology Group and is jointly editing the 2015 Sociology of Health and Illness monograph, ‘Children, health and well-being: policy debates and lived experience’.

Linda Blum

LindaLinda Blum PhD is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University in Boston who studies persistence, change, and contradictions in contemporary gender relations. Her interests include: Gender, Medicine, and the Body; Work, Family, and Intersections of Gender, Race, and Class Inequality; Qualitative and Ethnographic Methods; and Feminist Theory and Methods. She began her sociological career researching and writing on women’s grassroots movements for comparable pay, but has since developed a focus on ideologies of motherhood in the United States, how they judge fit and unfit, respectable and disreputable, and measure mothers against each other in ways that reinforce class and race inequality. She is the author of Between Feminism and Labor: The Significance of the Comparable Worth Movement (1991, University of California Press); At the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States (1999, Beacon); and Raising Generation Rx: Mothering Kids with Invisible Disabilities in an Age of Inequality (2015, NYU Press).  Currently she is interested in collaborating on cross-national comparisons of the medicalization of childhood and childrearing, cultures of mother-blame, and emerging counter-discourses of neurodiversity.

Benedetta Cappellini

Benedetta Cappellini is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests are in food consumption, material culture, family consumption and motherhood and consumption. She has published widely on these issues in a number of academic journals including Sociology, The Sociological Review, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Behaviour and Advances in Consumer Research. With Elizabeth Parsons (University of Liverpool) and David Marshall (University of Edinburgh) she is the co-editor of The Practice of the Meal: Families, food and the market place (Routledge, forthcoming).

Richard Collier

Richard Collier is Professor of Law at Newcastle University, UK. His primary research interests concern questions around law and gender, with a particular focus on issues surrounding men and masculinities, ranging from family law and social change to legal education, crime and criminology. He has published widely in these and other fields and his books include Men, Law and Gender: Essays on the ‘Man’ of Law (Routledge, 2010), Fragmenting Fatherhood: A Socio-Legal Study (with Sally Sheldon, Hart, 2008), Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective (edited with Sally Sheldon, Hart, 2007), Masculinities, Crime and Criminology: Men, Corporeality and the Criminal(ised) Body (Sage, 1998) and Masculinity, Law and the Family (Routledge, 1995). He is presently conducting research projects on wellbeing in law, fatherhood, masculinities and work-life balance in the legal profession and working on a book Family Men: Fatherhood, Law and Gender from the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present.

Hilde Danielsen

Uni Rokkan

Hilde is Doctor in  Cultural Studies and Senior researcher at Uni Research Rokkan Centre in Bergen, Norway. Her research focuses on family-life, sexuality and intimacy,  gender-equality, urban living, social movements and everyday-life. Hilde is currently working on the project Parenting cultures and risk management in plural Norway in collaboration with CPCS.

Esther Dermott

Dr Esther Dermott is Reader in Sociology at the University of Bristol and a University Research Fellow. A sociologist of family life, her research examines the culture, practices and policies associated with contemporary parenthood, and interrogates dominant views and measures of ‘good parenting’. Her current research is on the relationship between parenting and poverty (funded by the ESRC Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom) and on parenting practices in the UK and Japan (funded by a JSPS international visiting fellowship). Publications include ‘Intimate Fatherhood’ (Routledge 2008) which challenges the dominance of the breadwinning ideal in contemporary fatherhood and argues that we have witnessed the rise of ‘intimate fatherhood’ and ‘Displaying Families’ (ed with Seymour, Palgrave 2011) which examines the theorisation of personal/ family life focusing on the significance of credibility and audience in family practices. Her most recent writing includes analysis of the relationship between parenting and poverty (in Studies in the Maternal and Social Policy and Society) and she is co-edited a special issue of Families, Relationships and Societies, on contemporary fatherhood forthcoming in 2015). Twitter: @estherdermott Email: esther.dermott (at)

Stuart Derbyshire

SDStuart is an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore Clinical Imaging Research Centre and Department of Psychology. His current work involves both theoretical and empirical research on the nature of pain and the development of sensory experience in general. In particular, Stuart is examining the possible causes of a rising incidence of pain and somatic illness in the absence of identifiable pathology and in the context of improving health and longevity. Consequently, his research abuts psychology, cognitive science, and philosophical ethics. He is Associate Editor of the journals Pain and Psychosomatic Medicine and winner of the 2012 American Psychosomatic Society MacLean award for outstanding neuroscience research in psychosomatic medicine.

Katie Dow


Katie is a Research Associate in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at the University of Cambridge. Her main interest is the ethical dilemmas and questions provoked by reproduction and assisted conception. She is particularly concerned with the ways in which ideas of nature and naturalness are implicated in morality and ethics, as well as the importance of gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality in structuring parenting and reproduction and has recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Ethnos on the contemporary relationship between nature and ethics. Her book, Making a Good Life, is due to be published by Princeton University Press in 2016. In the book, she traces the connections between how people think about the ethics of reproduction and ethics in their everyday lives in a context of anxiety about environmental crisis and destruction of the natural world. Katie is also working on a new project looking at how the British news media has represented IVF, focusing particularly on the 1970s and 1980s

Val Gillies

ValVal Gillies is a Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldmsiths College, University of London. She has researched and published in the area of family, social class and marginalised children and young people, producing a wide range journal articles and books and chapters on parenting, youth, behaviour support policies in schools, home school relations as well as qualitative research methods. Her latest book ‘Pushed to the Edge: Inclusion and Behaviour Management in Schools’ (Policy Press, 2016) explores the experiences of young people referred to in school behaviour support units. She is currently working on an historical comparative analysis of ‘troubled families’ drawing on the case work archives of the organisation Family Action, which stretch back to the 1870s.

Janet Golden

Janet Golden, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Rutgers University where she specializes in the history of medicine, history of childhood, women’s history and American social history. She is the author or editor of eight books, and the author or co-author numerous peer-reviewed articles. Her most recent books are Message in a Bottle: The Making of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, (Harvard University Press, 2006) and the co-edited Healing the World’s Children: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Child Health in the 20th Century (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008). She co-edits the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine Series at Rutgers University Press. Dr. Golden is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including those awarded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Commonwealth Fund, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She is a member of the Sigerist Circle and of the Executive Committee of Rutgers AAUP/AFT. She is currently writing a history of babies in twentieth-century America focused on the decline of collective interest in their welfare. This project is supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hartman Center Archives of Duke University, Charles Donald O’Malley Research Fellowship from UCLA Medical School, and a research support grant from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe.

Katrien De Graeve

KDGfotoKatrien De Graeve is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders, affiliated to the Department of Languages and Cultures of Ghent University (Belgium) and member of the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender. She completed her PhD at the Department of Comparative Sciences of Culture at Ghent University with a critical analysis of intensive parenting practices in Belgian-Ethiopian adoptive families. In 2013-2014, she was a visiting fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Finland), where she conducted a study on the relations of care in the context of transnational adoption and guardianship of unaccompanied minors. Her current research project explores the concept of care ethics through an empirical study of care relationships of unaccompanied minors in Belgium. Katrien is involved in the interdisciplinary collaborative initiative on the Research of Families, Relationships, Parenting and Reproduction between Ghent University and the University of Kent.

Helene Guldberg

Dr Helene Guldberg teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses in developmental psychology at the Open University and the US study abroad centre, CAPA. After working as a primary school teacher, Guldberg obtained a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Manchester. She is co-founder and director of spiked, the first custom-built online current affairs publication in the UK. Her writing – in publications from spiked and The New Scientist to the Guardian and The Daily Mail – specialises on issues of science and society, human psychology and child development. She writes a blog for Psychology Today. Helene is author of Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear, published by Routledge in 2009. Her second book, Just Another Ape?, was published by Imprint Academic in 2010.

Vicki Harman

Vicki Harman September 2015 croppedVicki Harman is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London where she teaches courses on sociology of the family, social problems and social policy, social identities and consumption. Vicki’s research interests include family life in contemporary Britain, gender, social class and ethnicity. Recent projects have focused on families and food, including children’s lunchboxes and feeding the family in times of austerity. With Benedetta Cappellini (Royal Holloway) Vicki is the author of ‘Mothers on Display: Lunchboxes, Social Class and Moral Accountability’ published in Sociology. Vicki’s doctoral thesis (2007) explored the experiences and support networks of lone white mothers of mixed-parentage children. Her writing in this area has examined mothers’ social capital, their experiences of racism, social work practice and the identification and social positioning of young people of mixed-parentage. With Ravinder Barn (Royal Holloway) Vicki is the co-editor of Mothering, Mixed Families and Racialised Boundaries (Routledge, 2014).

Lesley Hoggart

Dr. Lesley Hoggart is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University. She specialises in qualitative research, and spent many years working in the qualitative research group at the Policy Studies Institute. Her research interests are focused on reproductive health, abortion policy and politics, teenage pregnancy and sexual health. Her publications include: Feminist Campaigns for Birth Control and Abortion Rights in Britain, (The Edwin Mellen Press 2002); 2013. Hoggart, L. and Newton, V. ‘The contraceptive implant: understanding how experiencing side effects may challenge bodily control and lead to removal’, Reproductive Health Matters, 21(41) pp.196-204; Hoggart, L., Newton, V. and Dickson, J.  (2013) ‘”I think it depends on the body, with mine it didn’t work”: explaining young women’s decisions to request subdermal contraceptive implant removal.’ Contraception.   Hoggart, L. (2012)  ‘“I’m pregnant … what am I going to do?” An examination of value judgements and moral frameworks in teenage pregnancy decision making.’ Health, Risk and Society. 14:6 pp 533-549. Hoggart, L. and Phillips, J. (2011) ‘Teenage pregnancies that end in abortion: what can they tell us about contraceptive risk-taking?’ Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 37 pp. 97-102. She is currently convening an ESRC Seminar Series on Understanding the Young Sexual Body, in collaboration with Kings College London, Institute of Education, Anglia Ruskin University and Cardiff University.

Mary Ann Kanieski

MAK pictureMary Ann Kanieski is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She teaches courses on the sociology of family, diverse childhood, and the sociology of poverty. She is especially interested in the impact and interpretation of scientific discourse in the social construction of parenting. In ‘Securing Attachment: The Shifting Medicalization of Attachment and Attachment Disorders” she examined the impact of attachment research on the psycho-medical scrutiny of mothers’ interactions with their children. Currently, she is finishing work on the ways in which parent educators construct parental responsibility and assist parents to meet their responsibilities. She is also interviewing mothers from diverse backgrounds on their understandings of good parenting.

Stephanie Knaak

stephanieDr. Stephanie Knaak completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her research examines the relationship between women’s experiences and wider cultural discourses about motherhood, with a special interest in understanding how medicalization and risk society influence parenting culture. She is the author of “The Problem with Breastfeeding Discourse, “Having a Tough Time: Towards and Understanding of the Psycho-social Causes of Postpartum Emotional Distress,” “Contextualizing Risk, Constructing Choice: Breastfeeding and Good Mothering in Risk Societyand “Breast-feeding, Bottle-feeding and Dr. Spock: The Shifting Context of ChoiceShe is currently working for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She blogs for Huffington Post Canada.

Linda Layne

linda layne

Linda L. Layne is Professor of Anthropology and Division Director of Liberal Arts and International Studies at the Colorado School of Mines. Her research on parenting began by looking at the assertion of ‘real’ parenthood by members of American pregnancy loss support groups (Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Perspective on Pregnancy Loss Routledge 2003 and Motherhood Lost Conversations, an 11-part educational tv series, GMU TV).  She is currently working on a comparison of the way absent/present family members are managed by Single Mothers by Choice, Two-Mom, Two-Dad, and pregnancy loss families and on an in-depth case study of one American Single Mother by Choice. She is co-editor of Parenting in Global Perspective,  Understanding Reproductive Loss, and  Feminist Technology.

Pam Lowe

Dr Pam Lowe is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Aston University. Most of her teaching and research is centred around women’s reproductive health, with a particular interest in pregnancy, contraception and parenting. Recently she has worked on a  number of projects including examining the construction of foetal alcohol syndrome in British newspapers and the deployment of neuroscience in parenting policy. Currently she undertaking two projects. The first is examining young people’s understanding of sexual consent and the other is looking at abortion and street protest in the UK.

Deborah Lupton

deborah-flexi space (1)-001Deborah Lupton is Centenary Research Professor in the News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra, Australia. She has researched pregnancy and parenting cultures for many years and is the co-author of Constructing Fatherhood: Discourses and Experiences (with Lesley Barclay, 1997), the author of The Social Worlds of the Unborn (2013) and editor of The Unborn Human (2013). Another central interest is digital sociology (her book Digital Sociology was published in 2015) and she is currently bringing these interests together in a number of projects exploring digitised pregnancy and parenting and the digital surveillance and monitoring of the unborn, infants and children (for example, the use of apps, wearable technologies, social media and online forums).

Janice McLaughlin

Dr Janice McLaughlin is Executive Director of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre and Reader in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University . Her work explores the interrelationships between disability, genetics, family, kinship and broader social, medical and cultural norms. Her most recent book, with Dan Goodley, Emma Clavering and Pamela Fisher, is published by Palgrave: Families Raising Disabled Children: Enabling Care and Social Justice.

Marjorie Murray

marjorie face copia

Dr Marjorie Murray is assistant professor at Anthropology Programme, Sociology Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is also a principal researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies ICIIS-FONDAP. She completed her PhD at the Department of Anthropology at University College London with a project on material culture and city life in Madrid. She has recently completed a three-year project for early career academics entitled “Motherhood and early childhood in Chile today: a study of mother-infant dyads from an ethnographic perspective” funded by the Chilean National Commission of Science and Technology CONICYT. Her current project focuses on the changing parenting practices and early socialization among Mapuche in Southern Chile. She is interested in the intertwining of changing parenting cultures, kinship and personhood. More specifically, she is interested in expert and state involvement in parenting, attachment and child development, the material culture of early parenting and parenting and neoliberalism. With Charlotte Faircloth, she is co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Family Issues on Parenting: Kinship, Expertise and Anxiety, and contributor to Parenting in Global Perspective.

Heather Piper

Heather Piper is Professorial Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her interests are varied, but remain faithful to her early professional training, tending to lie in the borderlands between the educational and social. Her ‘voice’ in research practice and academic writing has an ethical imperative and is perhaps best typified by a contrarian approach, a broad based and eclectic territory in sociology, philosophy, social policy, and independent study; along with a sensitivity to inter-professional concerns, sometimes at odds with the academy. This usually involves critiquing problematic aspects of theory, policy, and practice in contested areas of education and social policy, especially contradictions and confusions that are apparent in rhetoric at policy level, and which are often evident in common parlance. She takes issue with the use of negative and blaming labels (and hence unhelpful categorisation) in order to challenge key taken-for-granted assumptions held by those claiming to be concerned with inclusionary practice; and she challenges myths and taboos which serve to perpetuate dominant stories which silence the interests of the least powerful members of society. In order to achieve these aims, her work is characterised by an indifference to disciplinary boundaries. From her critical position somewhere on the borders it has been possible to produce quite controversial work (eg challenging governmental approaches to disaffection, mentoring and volunteering; questioning the alleged distinctive nature of male and female violence; identifying issues for education for citizenship stemming from the monarchy; and asking uncomfortable questions about current policy and practice in relation to professionals touching children in a risk society, and teachers and other professionals who have been falsely accused). She has completed two ESRC projects looking at touching behaviours (the first with teachers and carers, the second with sports coaches). Her books include Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom (2010), Ethics and Academic Freedom in Educational Research (2011), both co-authored with Pat Sikes, and published by Routledge. She also recently co-edited a special issue of Sport Education and Society, (2013, 18,5) Piper, H. Garratt, D. Taylor, B. Hands off! The practice and politics of touch in coaching and physical education.

Helen Reece

Helen Reece is a Reader in Law at London School of Economics and Political Science, where she specialises in teaching and researching Family Law, with a particular interest in regulation of the family. She has written about a number of aspects of regulation of the parent-child relationship, for example children’s welfare, lesbian and gay parenting, child contact and, most recently, parental responsibility. Her research on parental responsibility has been concerned with changing conceptions of parental responsibility, in connection with the development of therapeutic culture. She is currently interested in parental responsibility in the context of discipline and authority.

Katherine Twamley

Catherine Twamley

Katherine Twamley is John Adams Research Fellow at the Department of Social Science, University College London. She was recently awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, to begin in January 2016, when she will explore notions of equality, love and choice amongst new parents sharing and not sharing parental leave. She completed her PhD at City University London – an ethnography of love and marriage in the UK and India – and during an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship completed her book ‘Love, marriage and intimacy among Gujarati Indians: A Suitable Match’ (Palgrave Macmillan).  Her research interests are in sociology of the family, love and intimacy, social identities, gender and parenting. She is co-convenor of the British Sociological Association Early Career Forum.

Stuart Waiton Waiton_Stuart Uni Photo

Dr Stuart Waiton is a sociology and criminology lecturer at The University of Abertay Dundee. A regular contributor to the Scotsman newspaper, Stuart is author of Scared of the Kids: curfews crime and the regulation of young people, The Politics of Antisocial Behaviour: Amoral Panics and his latest book is entitled Snobs Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance. Key themes explored by Stuart are the changing relationships between adults and young people, the growing ‘generation gap’ and the fear of young people, crime and antisocial behaviour that exists within communities. He is also interested in the changing nature of the family and in particular the changing relationship between the family and the state. Most particularly this work is oriented to examine the rise and rise of ‘early intervention’ as a key social policy development.

Joan Wolf

Joan Wolf  is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas A&M University. In Is Breast Really Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood (New York University Press, 2011), she asks why, when the vast majority of evidence suggests that either breastfeeding or formula feeding is a healthy option for most babies in the developed world, scientists, doctors, governments, and powerful social groups have proclaimed virtually unanimously that “breast is best.” She argues that this misguided consensus results from the convergence of three forces: routines in infant-feeding research that ignore crucial determinants of babies’ health; a cultural preoccupation with personal responsibility and controlling risk, particularly health risks; and an ideology of “total motherhood” which demands that mothers prevent all risks to their babies, no matter how small the risk or how high the cost to mothers. Her current project examines how, in social science research, culturally and historically situated descriptions of normal child development become universal prescriptions for gender-appropriate parenting, and how this research then legitimizes both anachronistic family forms and retrograde social policy.

Non-academic associates

Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze , formerly The London Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blog editor, is a journalist and co-founder of the BritMums social network, the UK’s largest and most influential parent blogging network. She runs BritMums Live!, the premier UK’s parent blogging conference, taking place June 2012. Previously, she co-founded the blogging conference CyberMummy, which more than 400 delegates attended in June this year. A 20-year journalism veteran, Jennifer has contributed to a wide range of print and online publications, including The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Independent, Travel+Leisure,, and a host of Conde Nast publications. She contributed to the essay collection Standing Up to Supernanny and Budget Travel’s Secret Hotels book. She speaks frequently about parenting, blogging and social networking, and has appeared at conferences, Woman’s Hour and The Battle of Ideas. She currently blogs about family travel and expat life at

Nancy McDermott

Nancy McDermott is a writer based in New York. She is best known for her role within Park Slope Parents, the nation’s most influential parenting community where her compassionate, cool-headed counters to hyper-parenting culture have earned her the moniker of “the voice of reason”.  She is a regular contributor to spiked and a founding member of the New York Salon. Her blog is The Parenting Mystique.

Jane Sandeman

Jane Sandeman is the convenor of the Institute of Ideas Parents’ Forum. It was set up in 2006 to create a space for those interested in parenting to come together to discuss why modern parenting takes the form it does, and why and how children and child rearing has become such a central concern of modern life. It involves academics in this area, writers, policy makers and people who are interested because they are parents. Jane has written on parenting issues in spiked online, The Telegraph, The Independent and on the Parent Forums blog.

Zoe Williams

Zoe Williams is a columnist at the Guardian, and does regular broadcasting in that capacity, on the Daily Politics, the Politics show, Channel Four News, Sky News, as well as the Today programme and other radio current affairs shows. She writes for various women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, Psychologies, Glamour, Grazia, Cosmo and Easy Living. She has written one book, Bring It On, Baby.


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