Ros Edwards

For the past decade, CPCS has provided a much needed space for investigation of and reflection on parenting culture.  For researchers like me with an interest in family policies and family lives, parenting and mothering practices and interventions, its existence is intellectually valuable.  I’m pleased that the CPCS’s particular perspective on the issues raised by parenting culture has a presence in the field, and have appreciated the activities that are organised under the aegis of the centre.  Stand out events for me include conferences on monitoring parents in 2011, and on parenting and personhood in 2016.  At each of these I was able to listen and learn – and to network.  CPCS has excellent international and multidisciplinary reach, and I’ve benefitted from meeting colleagues’ working on similar topics of interest in, for example, Norway, Ireland, the USA and Canada.

Across the years, I’ve often found myself sharing an interest in features of parenting culture with colleagues at CPCS.  These are all issues that have been or are hotspots for the intense focus of political rhetoric, media attention and professional interventions in family lives as the root of social problems.  The stigmatisation of teenage mothers.  The stoking of generational wars to cover for austerity.  The use of brain science to blame poor mothering as creating deprivation and justify early intervention.  The rise of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) as a determinist framework for adult outcomes.  We may have different critical takes on these issues, or at least in relation to particular aspects of how we may understand what social processes are in play, where, why and how.  But the important point is that CPCS is always a welcoming space with colleagues open to alliance, and a commitment to offer an informed, considered and critical analysis of the push to prescriptive intervention in how mothers bring up their children.  Congratulations to CPCS on their 10th anniversary!