Dr Ellie Lee is Reader in Social Policy at the University of Kent and Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. She researches, publishes and teaches in the areas of the sociology of reproduction, of health, and of the family. Her longest standing research area is abortion policy and service provision. She has published works including Abortion Law and Politics Today (Macmillan 1998) and Abortion, Motherhood and Mental Health (Aldine Transaction 2003), and more recently has worked on influential studies about the provision of ‘late’ abortion and early medical abortion. Since 2004 she has also developed research projects about motherhood (specifically feeding babies) and parenthood (the contemporary medicalisation of motherhood and fatherhood). With Frank Furedi, she set up the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at Kent University in 2007 and in her spare time she co-ordinates the Pro-Choice Forum.
Jennie Bristow is a writer and editor specialising in parenting and inter-generational issues. She is author of Standing Up To Supernanny (Imprint Academic 2009) and co-author, with Frank Furedi, of Licensed to Hug (Civitas 2008, 2010). She writes a ‘Guide to Subversive Parenting’ column for spiked and Huffington Post UK, is the editor of the website Parents With Attitude and the BPAS journal Abortion Review, and runs the editing service Punctuate! Bristow is studying for a PhD at the University of Kent on generations and the construction of the Baby Boomers as a social problem.
Dr Charlotte Faircloth is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, based at the University of Kent, working on 3-year a project entitled ‘Parenting: Gender, Intimacy and Equality’. She completed her PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, which explored 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? Infant Care and Maternal Identity Work in the UK and France, which is in press with 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. She is currently co-editing a volume entitled ‘Parenting and the Social Sciences: Comparative Studies In Kinship, Self And Politics.’
Frank Furedi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury. His research is oriented towards the study of the workings of precautionary culture and risk aversion in Western societies. In his books he has explored controversies and panics over issues such as health, children, food, new technology and terrorism. His book on contemporary parenting culture, Paranoid Parenting (2001) has been translated into French, German, Italian, Danish and Dutch and a new edition was published in 2008. Frank was co-author, with Jennie Bristow, of Licensed to Hug (2008), a critique of the damaging effect of the culture of ‘vetting’ on relationships between adults and children. Furedi’s website is here.
Dr Jan Macvarish is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Kent. Her interests lie in the sociology 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 through qualitative interviewing of single, childless women and cultural analysis of the new ‘culture of singleness’. She is particularly interested in questions of risk culture, de-moralisation and individualisation but is also concerned with policy developments. Through her involvement in a study of teenage parents, she was able critically to explore the relationship between the lived experience of young parenthood and way in which parents and their children are constructed and related to through policy and cultural frameworks.
Amy Murphy is a PhD student at the University of Kent. She is currently researching whether sexist ideologies may be a factor in determining why pregnant women are often restricted in decision making. For example, recent stories in the media have included a pregnant lady being evicted from a pub for sipping from a pint of beer, when concrete evidence that the light consumption of alcohol during pregnancy causes actual harm, is lacking. Her research builds upon that of Robbie Sutton, Karen Douglas and Leigh McClellan in the School of Psychology, as to whether new paternalism is present in the restrictive actions towards some pregnant individuals.
Sally Sheldon is a Professor in Kent Law School. She has recently published a socio-legal study of fatherhood (Fragmenting Fatherhood, 2008) and co-edited ‘Fathers’ Rights activism and Law Reform’ (2007), both with Richard Collier of Newcastle Law School. She has published 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). Her recent work centres on the amendments introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008), with specific regard to how they relate to ideas about parenthood.
Dr Robbie Sutton is senior lecturer in psychology, School of Psychology. His primary research interests centre around the social psychology of justice and social hierarchy, social norms governing dominance, prejudice, and intergroup criticism, and gender. His empirical research on parenting culture is concerned with the role played by sexist ideology in proscriptive practices that curtail women’s choices during pregnancy. Forthcoming book projects include Social psychology (Palgrave Macmillan) and Feedback: The handbook of praise, criticism, and advice (Peter Lang). His work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy, and has been published in the leading journals in social psychology and personality. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, the British Journal of Social Psychology, and the European Journal of Social Psychology. Stuart Waiton. Dr Stuart Waiton is a sociology and criminology lecturer at the University of Abertay Dundee, a director of the research group Generation Youth Issues, and a regular contributor to the Times Educational Supplement in Scotland. Author of Scared of the Kids, his latest book, published by Routledge, is The Politics of Antisocial Behaviour: Amoral Panics.
Dr Geraldine Brady’s primary research interest is in the relationship between dominant professional and public discourses, wider policy agendas and lay perspectives. Reproduction and parenting has been a substantive area of research since 2004, in particular, a range of research and evaluation projects exploring aspects of support for pregnant teenagers and young parents. This research has focused on the barriers to social inclusion faced by young parents, stigma and discrimination, access to ante- and postnatal health care, and housing; experiences of termination or miscarriage; issues of power, control and abuse in relationships; the needs and experiences of ‘young’ fathers. 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 doctoral thesis (2005) explored experiential accounts of the medically diagnosed condition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), from the perspective of children, young people and their parents. She has been a member of the British Sociological Association since 1994 and currently convenes the West Midlands Medical Sociology Group. She is also a member of the Association for Research on Mothering. Geraldine has two publications forthcoming (written with colleagues from Coventry and Plymouth Universities): both relate to reproduction and parenting (see link for details).
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 researching the book Family Men: Fatherhood, Law and Gender from the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present and is conducting a research project on male lawyers, masculinities and work-life balance in the legal profession .
Dr Esther Dermott is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bristol. Her research on parenting culture focuses on fatherhood. She is interested both in the forms of involvement which men in the UK adopt as their fathering practices alongside the cultural ideas of fatherhood that they express. This has led to an interest in the negotiation of time and issues of work-life balance. Her recent book Intimate Fatherhood (Routledge 2008) argues that recognising the centrality of an emotionally expressive father-child relationship and flexible time use can help to overcome some apparent paradoxes between the culture and conduct of contemporary fatherhood. She has been involved in both qualitative and quantitative research projects, including interviewing fathers about their experiences and attitudes, exploring the effect of fatherhood on men’s employment and, previously, examining lesbian and gay parenting. She recently co-edited Displaying Families (with Seymour, J.) (2011) London: Palgrave Macmillan You can learn more about her research here.
Stuart is the director of Pain Imaging at the University of Birmingham and a Reader in 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 journal Pain and winner of the 2012 American Psychosomatic Society MacLean award for outstanding neuroscience research in psychosomatic medicine.
Dr Val Gillies is a co-director of the Families & Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University. She has researched and published the area of family, social class and at risk youth, producing various journal articles and book chapters on parenting, social policy and home school relations as well as qualitative research methods. Her book Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Parenting (Routledge) was published in 2007. She is currently conducting ESRC funded research in inner city schools with secondary school pupils at risk of exclusion, their parents and teachers.
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.
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.
Dr Emma Head is a lecturer in Sociology at Keele University. Her research interests are in the sociology of the family, particularly in motherhood and parenting. She completed her PhD ‘Caring and paid work in the lives of lone mothers’ at the University of Bristol in 2005 and took up an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leeds. Emma has recently written on infants and sleep and is currently developing a research project on attachment parenting in Britain.
Timo Heimerdinger is Professor of European Ethnology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Based on qualitative-empirical methods as well as grounded on cultural-historical analysis, he studies parenting culture as ways of constructing identity, risk management, political and social life – as well as child rearing. His current focus is on nutrition, sleep and mobility.
Dr. Lesley Hoggart is a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Greenwich. She now convenes the Sexual Health Research and Training Group at the 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); Hoggart, L. and Phillips, J. (2009) Young people in London: abortion and repeat abortion Government Office for London, Young London Matters.‘Risk: Young Women and Sexual Decision-Making’ in Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research (2006); ‘Young women, sexual behaviour and sexual decision-making’ in eds. Thom, B., Sales, R. and J. Pearce, Growing Up with Risk, (2007 The Policy Press) ‘Sexual Health’ in International Encyclopedia of Social Policy, eds. Fitzpatrick, T., Kwon, H., Manning, N., Midgley, J. and Pascall, G. (2006 Routledge; 2011. Hoggart, L. and Phillips, J. ‘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.
Mary Ann Kanieski is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She specializes in the sociology of family with an emphasis on the role of scientific discourse in the social construction of parenting. She is currently researching class differences in the social construction of parenting.
Dr Stephanie Knaak recently completed her PhD at the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, Canada. Her research looks at the relationship between women’s experiences and wider cultural discourses around mothering and motherhood, medicalization, and social constructions of risk. She is the author of such publications as “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 Society,” and “Breast-feeding, Bottle-feeding and Dr. Spock: The Shifting Context of Choice.” Her current research includes a project that examines the concept of “normality” as it pertains to mothers’ postpartum experiences. It is a study that aims to understand how the boundaries between “healthy” and “unhealthy” are constructed, reinforced, and challenged through mothers’ own experiences, through their interactions with various others, and through their interactions with dominant health and parenting discourses. Dr. Knaak is also the creator of the Motherhood Café website.
Dr. Ofra Koffman is Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She was previously Research Fellow at the University of Greenwich and a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths College. She is currently writing a book for Manchester University Press titled ‘Children having Children? : Morality, Psychology and the Birth of the Teenage Pregnancy Problem’ scheduled to be published in 2011. Her new project looks at the recent prominence of adolescent girls within global health and development campaigns, and explores the relationship between media and policy.
Dr Helen Lomax is Senior Lecturer in Health Policy at the University of Hertfordshire. Her research interests include the role of policy, popular culture and professional expertise in shaping parenting experiences and practices. Methodological interests encompass the development of video-based and photographic techniques for exploring the ways in which normative assumptions about mothering circulate, and are resisted and negotiated. The focus of this work is the interface of the public and the private in interactions between mothers and professional carers. Publications include: ‘Visual identities: Choreographies of gaze, body movement and speech in mother-midwife interaction’. In Reavey, P. (ed.) (in press 2010) Visual Psychologies: Using and interpreting images in qualitative research. Routledge. Helen is the principle investigator of the ESRC seminar series ‘Visual Dialogues: New agendas in inequalities research’ (www.visualdialogues.co.uk). This two year project brings together academics, practitioners and policy makers from across the arts and social and health sciences in order to explore the potential of the visual for understanding the forms and experiences of inequality that shape societies, communities and individual lives.
Dr Pam Lowe is a lecturer in Sociology at Aston University. Her main research area is centred around women’s reproductive health, with a particular interest in pregnancy and contraception. She is currently working on a number of projects including examining the construction of foetal alcohol syndrome in British newspapers with Ellie Lee.
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.
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). Her latest book, Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom, co-authored with Pat Sikes, was published by Routledge in 2009, and she has just been awarded an ESRC grant to look further at touching behaviors, this time in a sports coaching context.
Nina has a B.A. Honours in psychology from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2008 before moving to theUnited Kingdom to work as a research assistant in both the developmental lab under Dr Sarah Beck, and the social lab under Dr Kimberly Quinn at the University of Birmingham. Nina started her PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2009 continuing to work with both Dr Beck and Dr Quinn. Nina is due to complete her PhD on moral condemnation and blame judgements in adults and children in 2012.
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.
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.
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, CNN.com, 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 www.jenography.net.
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 parentingcommunity 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 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 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.