Favourite articles

On this page, you can find details of articles CPCS associates think have significantly taken forward the study of parenting culture. We first developed this catalogue as part of setting up our Centre. Our engagement with this literature, and that published more recently is set out in our book ‘Parenting Culture Studies’, and in the special issues detailed below. Please feel free to email Dr Ellie Lee with any of your own suggestions.

Our events have generated two special issues of journals, as follows:

A special issue of Sociological Research Online, based on papers and issues discussed through the ESRC seminar series, ‘Changing Parenting Culture’  Vol 15, Issue 4 (2010)

Introduction: ‘Changing Parenting Culture’
by Charlotte Faircloth and Ellie Lee

Researching Barriers to Cultural Change for Those in Loco Parentis
by Heather Piper and Pat Sikes

Under the Influence? The Construction of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in UK Newspapers
by Pam Lowe, Ellie Lee and Liz Yardley

‘What Science Says is Best’: Parenting Practices, Scientific Authority and Maternal Identity by Charlotte Faircloth

Understanding the Significance of the Teenage Mother in Contemporary Parenting Culture by Jan Macvarish

A special issue of the journal Health, Risk and Society, based on papers and issues discussed through the ESRC seminar series ‘Changing Parenting Culture’.

The contents are as follows. See http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g923836227 for more (abstracts only accessible free of charge).

Risk, health and parenting culture Ellie Lee; Jan Macvarish; Jennie Bristow

Risky investments: Parenting and the production of the ‘resilient child’ Diane M. Hoffman

Securing attachment: The shifting medicalisation of attachment and attachment disorders Mary Ann Kanieski

The effect of ‘risk-thinking’ on the contemporary construction of teenage motherhood Jan Macvarish

Contextualising risk, constructing choice: Breastfeeding and good mothering in risk society Stephanie J. Knaak

‘If they want to risk the health and well-being of their child, that’s up to them’: Long-term breastfeeding, risk and maternal identity Charlotte R. Faircloth

‘If they don’t eat it, it’s not a proper meal’: Images of risk and choice in fathers’ accounts of family food practices Jenny Owen; Alan Metcalfe; Caroline Dryden; Geraldine Shipton

Advocating alcohol abstinence to pregnant women: Some observations about British policy Pam K. Lowe; Ellie J. Lee

The ethics and cultural politics of reproductive risk warnings: A case study of California’s Proposition 65 Rebecca Kukla

Bonny babies? Motherhood and nurturing in the age of obesity Julia Keenan; Helen Stapleton


A special issue of the Journal of Family Issues: Kinship, Expertise and Anxiety  (Edited by Charlotte Faircloth and Marjorie Murray, based on an EASA panel)

A special issue of Sociological Research Online: Gender, intimacy and equality: Uncomfortable bedfellows? (coming soon, edited by Charlotte Faircloth and Katherine Twamley, based on the ‘Uncomfortable Bedfellows event at the IOE)

Parenting in Global Perspective (Routledge, edited by Charlotte Faircloth, Diane Hoffman and Linda Layne, based on a panel at the AAA conference, and a Wenner-Gren funded workshop)

We have grouped other articles by theme (not in alphabetical order):

Feeding babies and children

Lee, E. 2007. ‘Infant feeding in risk society’. Health, Risk and Society. 9(3): 259-309.

Murphy, E.  2000. ‘Risk, Responsibility and Rhetoric in Infant Feeding’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (3) 291-325. Abstract

Crossley, M.L. 2009. ‘Breastfeeding as a Moral Imperative: An Autoethnographic Study’. Feminismand Psychology 19: 71-87. Abstract

Miller, T., Bonas, S. and Dixon-Woods, M. 2007. ‘Qualitative research on breastfeeding in the UK: a narrative review and methodological reflection.’ Evidence and Policy 3(2): 197-230. Abstract

Lee, Ellie. 2007.’Health, morality, and infant feeding: British mother’s experiences of formula milk use in the early weeks’. Sociology of Health and Illness Vol 29(7): 1075-1090 Abstract

Murphy, E. 1999. ‘Breast is Best’: Infant feeding and maternal deviance, Sociology of Health and Illness 21 (2), pp. 187-208. Abstract

Faircloth, C. 2009. ‘Mothering as identity-work: Long-Term Breastfeeding and Intensive Motherhood.’ Anthropology News. Vol. 50. Issue 2. pp. 15-17. Full text

Faircloth, C. 2010 ‘What science says is best: Parenting practices, scientific authority and maternal identity.’ Sociological Research Online Special Section on ‘Changing Parenting Culture’. Vol 15, Issue 4. Full text

Faircloth, C. 2011. ‘It feels right in my heart: Affect as accountability in narratives of attachment.’ The Sociological Review Volume 59, Issue 2, pages 283–302, May. Abstract

Lee, E. 2011.Breast-Feeding Advocacy, Risk Society and Health Moralism: A Decade’s Scholarship. Sociology Compass. Volume 5, Issue 12, pages 1058–1069. Abstract

Wall, G. 2001. ‘Moral constructions of motherhood in breastfeeding discourse’. Gender & Society 15(4): 590-608.

Wolf, J. 2007 Is breast really best? Risk and total motherhood in the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. Journal of health politics, policy and law 32(4): 595-636. Full tex

Knaak, S 2006 ‘The problem with breastfeeding discourse’. The Canadian Journal of Public Health, 97(5):412-414.

Knaak, S. 2005 ‘Breast-feeding, Bottle-feeding and Dr. Spock: The Shifting Context of Choice’. The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 42(2):197-216. Full text

Kukla, R. 2006. “Ethics and Ideology in Breastfeeding Advocacy Campaigns”, Hypatia 21:1, 157-180.

Lee, E. 2007. ‘Infant feeding in risk society’. Health, Risk and Society 9(3), 295-309 Abstract

Murphy, E.  2003. ‘Expertise and forms of knowledge in the government of families, The Sociological Review 51 (4) 433-462. Full text

Balint, P. 2009. Should the promotion of breastfeeding be government policy? APSA paper. Full text

Jansson, M. 2009. Feeding children and protecting women: The emergence of breastfeeding as an international concern. Women’s Studies International Forum 32 240–248 Abstract

Andews, T. and Knaak, S. 2013. Medicalized mothering: experiences with breastfeeding in Canada and Norway. The Sociological Review. Vol. 61, 88–110 Full Text 

Teenage pregnancy/parenting

Hoggart, L.  2006. ‘Risk: Young Women and Sexual Decision-Making’ [55 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 7(1), Art. 28. Full text

Arai, L. 2005. ‘Peer and neighbourhood influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility: qualitative findings from research in English communities’. Health and Place Vol.13 (1): 87-98. Abstract

Arai, L. 2003a. ‘British policy on teenage pregnancy and childbearing: the limitations of comparisons with other European countries.’ Critical Social Policy, Vol. 23, No. 1, 89-102 (2003). Abstract

Carabine, J. 2007. ‘New Labour’s teenage pregnancy policy: constituting knowing responsible citizens?’ Cultural Studies, 21(6), pp. 952–973. Abstract

Graham, H. and McDermott, E. 2005. ‘Qualitative Research and the Evidence Base of Policy: Insights from Studies of Teenage Mothers in the UK’. Journal of Social Policy 35(1): 21-37. Abstract

Duncan, S. 2007. ‘What’s the problem with teenage parents? And what’s the problem with policy?’ Critical Social Policy 27: 307-334. Abstract

Ermisch, J. and Pevalin, D.J. 2003. ‘Does a “teen-birth” have a longer-term impact on the mother? Evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study’. Institute of Economic and Social Research, Working Papers, 2003-32, University of Essex. Full text

Macvarish J. and Billings J. 2010. ‘Challenging the irrational, amoral and anti-social construction of the ‘teenage mother’. In Duncan, S., Edwards, R. and Alexander, C. (Eds.) Teenage parenting – what’s the problem? London: Tufnell Press.

Fathering and fatherhood

‘After the ‘need for … a father’: ‘the welfare of the child’ and ‘supportive parenting’ in assisted conception clinics in the UK’, Lee, Sheldon and Macvarish in Families, Relationships and Society. Available via Open Access.

Dermott, E & Millar, T 2015, ‘More than the sum of its parts? contemporary fatherhood policy, practice and discourse’. Families, Relationships and Societies.

Sheldon, S. 2005 ‘Fragmenting Fatherhood: the Regulation of Reproductive Technologies’ 68(4) Modern Law Review 523-53.

Wall, G. and Arnold, S. 2007. ‘How involved in involved fathering?’ Gender and Society 21(4): 508-527. Abstract

Dermott, E. 2003 ‘The Intimate Father: Defining Paternal Involvement’, Sociological Research Online 8(4) Abstract

Shirani, F. Henwood, K. and Coltart, C. 2011. ‘Meeting the Challenges of Intensive Parenting Culture: Gender, Risk Management and the Moral Parent’ Sociology The online version of this article can be found here

Dermott, E. 2006. ‘What’s Parenthood Got To Do With It?: Men’s Hours of 
Paid Work’, British Journal of Sociology 57(4): 619-634 Abstract

Dermott, E. 2005. ‘Time and Labour: Fathers and Childcare.’ The Sociological Review 53 Supplement 2: 89-103


Brett, J. (2002), ‘The experience of disability from the perspective of parents of children with profound impairment: Is it time for an alternative model of disability’, Disability & Society, 17, 7, 825-843. Abstract

Bywaters, P., Ali, Z., Fazil, Q., Wallace, L.M. and Singh, G. (2003), ‘Attitudes towards disability amongst Pakistani and Bangledeshi parents of disabled children in the UK: considerations for service providers and the disability movement’, Health and Social Care in the Community, 11, 6, 502 – 509. Abstract

Jordan, L. 2004. ‘Parenting and disability: Disabled parents’ experiences of raising children’, Social Policy & Administration, 38, 5, 541-548.

Landsman, G. 1998. ‘Reconstructing Motherhood in the age of “Perfect” Babies: Mothers of Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities’, Signs, 24, 1, 69-99.

Landsman, G. 2000. ‘”Real Motherhood,” Class, and Children with Disabilities’, in Ragone, H. and Twine, F.W. (eds.), Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood: Race, Class, Sexuality, Nationalism, New York, Routledge

Larson, E. 1998. ‘Reframing the Meaning of Disability to Families: The Embrace of Paradox’, Social Science & Medicine, 47, 7, 865-875. Abstract

McKeever, P., Angus, J., Lee-Miller, K. and Reid, D. 2003. ”It’s more of a production’: accomplishing mothering using a mobility device’, Disability & Society, 18, 2, 179-197. Abstract

McKeever, P. and Miller, K.L. 2004. ‘Mothering children who have disabilities: a Bourdieusian interpretation of maternal practices’, Social Science & Medicine, 59, 6, 1177-1191. Abstract

McLaughlin, J. and Goodley, D. 2008. ‘Seeking and rejecting certainty: exposing the sophisticated lifeworlds of parents of disabled babies’, Sociology, 42, 2, 317-335. Abstract

Parenting and parenting policy

Dermott, E. 2015. ‘Good’ Parenting Practices: How Important are Poverty, Education and Time Pressure? Sociology (Online First)

Perrier, M. 2012. ‘Middle-class Mothers’ Moralities and ‘Concerted Cultivation’: Class Others, Ambivalence and Excess’ Sociology December 12, 2012 (Online First here)

Perrier, M. 2013. ‘No right time: the significance of reproductive timing for younger and older mothers’ moralities’ The Sociological Review Volume 61, Issue 1 pages 69–87, February 2013 (Online here)

2013.  Esther Dermott and Junko Yamashita. Resource-Free Parenting: The Not So Curious Absence of Money in Policy Discourses of Good Parenting in the UK and Japan. Social Policy and Society, available here.

2012   Romagnoli, A. and G. Wall. ‘I Know I’m a Good Mom’: Young, Low-income Mothers’ Experiences with Risk Perception, Intensive Parenting Ideology, and Parenting Education Programs. Health, Risk, and Society. 14(3): 273-289.

Gillies, V. 2011. From Function to Competence: Engaging with the New Politics of Family. Sociological Research Online, 16 (4) 11 Full text

Ribbens McCarthy, J. and Edwards, R. 2000 ‘Moral tales of the Child and the Adult: narratives of contemporary family lives under changing circumstances’, Sociology, 34:4, 785-804.

Gillies, V. 2006. ‘Working Class Mothers and School Life: Exploring the Role of Emotional Capital.’ Gender and Education 18 (3) 81-295.

Gillies, V. 2005 Raising the meritocracy: parenting and the individualisation of social class. Sociology. 39 (5) 835-852

Dodds, A. 2009. ‘Families “at risk” and the Family Nurse Partnership: the intrusion of risk into social exclusion policy.’ Journal of Social Policy, 38: 3. Abstract

Gilies, V. 2005. ‘Meeting parents’ needs? Discourses of ‘support’ and ‘inclusion’ in family policy.’ CriticalSocial Policy, 25 (1) 70-90. Abstract

Gillies, V., Edwards, R.  2004. ‘Support in Parenting: Values and Consensus Concerning Who to Turn to.’ Journal of Social Policy. 33 (4), 623-643. Abstract

Hey, V. and Bradford, S. 2006. ‘Re-engineering Motherhood? Sure Start in the community.’ Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 7(1): 53-67

Reece, H. 2006. ‘From Parental Responsibility to Parenting Responsibly’ in Michael Freeman (ed), Law and Sociology:  Current Legal Issues. Oxford University Press: 459-83.

Reece, H. 1996. ‘The Paramountcy Principle: Consensus or Construct?’ 49 Current Legal Problems 267-304

Reece, H. 2009. Parental Responsibility as Therapy. Family Law. 39:  1167

Reece, H. 2010. ‘”Bright line rules may be appropriate in some cases, but not where the object is to promote the welfare of the child”. Barring in the best interests of the child?’ C.F.L.Q.2010, 22(4), 422-448.

Ball, S. and Vincent, C. 2005. ‘The ‘childcare champion’? New Labour, social justice and the childcare market. British Educational Research Journal 31(5): 557-570. Abstract

Wilson, H. 2002. ‘Brain Science, Early Intervention and ‘At Risk’ Families: Implications for Parents, Professionals, and Social Policy.’ Social Policy and Society 1(3): 191-202. Abstract

Medicalising parenthood and the new brain science

Wall, G. 2004 “Is your child’s brain potential maximized? Mothering in an age of new brain research.” Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal. 28(2)

Wall, G. 2010. Mothers’ experiences with intensive parenting and brain development discourse. Women’s Studies International Forum 33(3): 253 – 263.

Kukla, R. 2008. ‘Measuring motherhood’. International Journal of Feminist Bioethics 1(1):67-90 Abstract

Lupton, D 2011. ‘The best thing for the baby’: Mothers’ concepts and experiences related to promoting their infants’ health and development Health, Risk & Society Volume 13Issue 7-8, 2011 Abstract

Childcare and childcare in a culture of fear

2013. Wall, G. ‘Putting family first’: Shifting discourses of motherhood and childhood in representations of mothers’ employment and child care. Women’s Studies International Forum. 40: 162-71

Vincent, C. and Ball, S. 2001. ‘A market in love? Choosing pre-school childcare’. British Educational Research Journal 27(5): 633-651 Abstract

Meyer, A. 2007. ‘The Moral Rhetoric of Childhood’, Childhood, vol1. 14(1): 85-104. Abstract

Piper, H. and Smith, H. 2003. ‘Touch’ in Educational and Child Care Settings: Dilemmas and Responses’. British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 29, No. 6 (Dec., 2003), pp. 879-894

Piper, H. Powell, J. and Smith, H. 2006. ‘Parents, Professionals, and Paranoia: The Touching of Children in a Culture of Fear.’ Journal of Social Work, Vol. 6, No. 2, 151-167 Abstract

Knudsen, H. 2011. ‘The game of hospitality’ ephemera theory & politics in organization volume 11(4): 433-449 PDF

Stronach, I and Piper, H. 2008. ‘Can Liberal Education Make a Comeback? The Case of “Relational Touch” at Summerhill School.’ American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 45, No. 1, 6-37 Abstrac

Heimerdinger, T. 2011. ‘Pacifiers and Fairies: Family Culture as Risk Management – a German Example’ Journal of Folklore Research 48, 2, (2011), 197-211. Abstract

Pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and abortion

‘Fertile Connections: Thinking across Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Parenting Culture Studies’, Faircloth and Gurtin, in Sociology. Available via Open Access.

Sutton, R.M. and Douglas, K.M. and McClellan, L.M. (2011) ‘Benevolent sexism, perceived health risks, and the inclination to restrict pregnant women’s freedoms’ Sex Roles. (in press)

Lee, E., Clements, S., Ingham, R., and Stone, N. 2004. A Matter of Choice? Explaining National Variations in Abortion and Motherhood. York: Joseph Rowntree Fourndation. (Research report).

Sheldon, S. 2003. ‘Abortion and Unwilling Fathers: Terminating Men’s Child Support Obligations?’ 66(2) Modern Law Review 175-94.Sheldon, S.  2001.  ‘Sperm Bandits, Birth Control Fraud and the Battle of the Sexes’ 21(3) Legal Studies 460-80. Abstract

Jones, R. Frohwirth, L. F., and Moore, A. M. 2008. ‘ “I would want to give my child, like, everything in the world”: How issues of motherhood influence women who have abortions’. Journal of Family Issues 29: 79-99. Abstract

Maher, J. and Saugeres, L. 2007. ‘To be or not to be a mother? Women negotiating cultural representations of mothering’. Journal of Sociology 43(1): 5-21. Abstract

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