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Welcome to the latest Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS) newsletter. This goes to those who have attended events organised by CPCS, and others who have expressed an interest in the work of the Centre.

Ellie Lee, Director CPCS 

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  1. Upcoming events

CPCS is co-organising two events in 2017, both taking place at Kent universities.

Policing pregnancy: who should be a mother?

This one-day event, to be held at Canterbury Christ Church University on Thursday 18 May 2017, is a collaboration by British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS), Birthrights, and Engaging Sociology at CCCU. The programme includes speakers from a range of academic disciplines – Sociology, Anthropology, History, Law, Philosophy, and Social Work – and from Third Sector organisations working with pregnant women. Sessions will explore changing ideas about pregnancy, motherhood, responsibility and risk, and the impact of these ideas on women’s experience and professional services and are:


Session 1: ‘Ideal pregnancies’ and the new family planning

Session 2: Bad bodies, bad choices? Behavioural advice and the pregnant woman

Session 3: Pregnancy surveillance and the medical profession

Session 4: Breastfeeding, guilt, and ideals of good motherhood


You can find full details of programme and speakers here.


Tickets are £45 for the day and there are free places available for students – book your place here.


Doctors, Conscience and Abortion Provision 

This is a one-day workshop hosted by the University of Kent, as a collaboration between the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Reproduction (CISoR), the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.


Date: Thursday 29 June 2017

Venue: Ground Floor, Cornwallis East Building, University of Kent, Canterbury

Organisers: Dr Ellie Lee (SSPSSR) and Professor Sally Sheldon (Kent Law School), University of Kent


This event is one of a number taking place during 2017, the year of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act. In common with other events, its aim is to promote critical reflection about this legislation. In the academic literature, one widely commented on feature of the British abortion law is its ‘medicalisation’; that is, the centrality given by law to medical opinion in deciding on access to abortion procedures. While this feature of the abortion legislation has generated a great deal of academic analysis and discussion in the disciplines of law, ethics and sociology, research and discussion about the opinions and experiences of doctors themselves is notably, and curiously, absent from research. The main purpose of this event is to place ‘medical opinion’, as it operates in practice at the centre of a discussion about abortion provision.


The programme overall will take ‘conscience’ as its core theme. The day will begin with a presentation by Professor Sally Sheldon about history of medical opinion in the development of the British Abortion law, based on work for the project ‘The Abortion Act: A Biography’. The programme includes discussion about research considering abortion provision in England based on new research led by Dr Ellie Lee, but we will also widen the lens and benefit from a comparative focus. We are delighted to be able to include Dr Lori Freedman and Professor Wendy Chavkin from the US as presenters.


Session1: Doctors and the Abortion Act 1967

Session 2: Abortion Providers: Doctors Who Do

Session3: Conscientious Objection: Doctors Who Don’t


You can find full details of programme and speakers here.


Book your place for the event here (this event is free to attend, and places will be allocated on a first come basis). PGR students are invited to submit posters, details can be found here.


  1. CPCS@Kent

Second CPCS Spring Forum.


Wednesday 15 March, 2017 

15.00, Cornwallis North West, Seminar Room 4

Emergency Contraception in an era of ‘safe sex’

Verity Pooke ESRC Social Policy PhD Candidate.


Women in 2017 have a greater choice in methods of contraception than ever before, with over 15 different methods available, women have plenty to choose from when making a decision on contraception that suits their lifestyle. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest in recent years with an increase in ‘safe sex’ messages that health policy has introduced a new discourse on women’s autonomy on reproductive rights and sexual health. However, research has shown that the emergency contraceptive pill has become an anomaly in the contraceptive repertoire for a modern woman. Using the study of social problems as a form of an analysis, this research evaluates the social construct of the under used method of contraception, to understand the role of emergency contraception in a modern era of safe sex messages and initiatives. Using qualitative research methods; semi structure interviews and focus groups, this project aims to document the real-life experiences of women using and choosing methods of contraception. Equally, it examines the discourse that surrounds the emergency contraceptive pill product in the UK and evaluates whether these messages have been received by women who use the product. The purpose of this research that is contributing to a PhD thesis is to highlight the ongoing issue with women’s autonomy in health policy, whilst addressing various contemporary issues with women’s reproductive health and rights using social problem theory as an analysis.


NB: Discussion on ‘The Generation Wars’, introduced by Jennie Bristow is postponed.


  1. Read and listen on

New Webpage about CPCS Books

Constructing abortion as a social problem: “Sex selection” and the British abortion debate’. This article by Ellie Lee is published as part of a Special Issue of Feminism and Psychology, ‘Abortion in Context’ (all Open Access)

‘Tamara Ecclestone breastfeeding pictures: Why were they controversial?’ with comment by Ellie Lee

‘What should post-millennials know?’, Panel discussion with Jennie Bristow

From Brexit to the pensions crisis, how did the Baby Boomers get the blame for everything?’, by Jennie Bristow

Newspaper interviews with Jan Macvarish about neuroparenting, in the Netherlands and Belgium

Recording of CPCS Forum ‘War – a family affair. Anthropological perspectives on family life, parenting and gender in the light of military deployment’, introduced by Maj Hedegaard Heiselberg, visiting PhD student with CPCS