Ellie Lee


Dr Ellie Lee is Professor of Family and Parenting Research 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. Ellie is also an advisor to the Institute of Ideas.

Jennie Bristow

I am Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, and a writer and commentator on the new generation wars. My research focuses on generations, education, and parenting culture. Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict (2015) develops Mannheim’s approach to the sociology of knowledge 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. The Sociology of Generations: New directions and challenges (2016) extends this analysis to explore contemporary debates about education, parenting, social policy, and intimate life. I am co-author (with Ellie Lee, Charlotte Faircloth and Jan Macvarish) of Parenting Culture Studies (2014); and (with Frank Furedi) of Licensed to Hug (2010, 2nd edition). I am also author of Standing Up to Supernanny (2009), a short critique of contemporary parenting culture. More detail about my writing and current research is posted at

Charlotte Faircloth

Dr Charlotte Faircloth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Science at UCL Institute of Education, 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’. As well as editing several journal special issues, she  co-edited the volumes ‘Parenting in Global Perspective: Negotiating ideologies of kinship, self and politics‘ and Feeding Children Inside and Outside the Home: Critical Perspectives. She is also co-author of ‘Parenting Culture Studies‘.

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. He 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.

Tina Haux

Dr Tina Haux is a Lecturer in Quantitative Social Policy SSPSSR at the University of Kent.  Her research focuses on the roles, responsibilities and needs of parents within the current welfare and legal setting, with particular reference to post-separation families. As well as being one of the co-editors of The Student’s Handbook of Social Policy by Blackwell, she is the Director of Qstep at Kent, which is an initiative that aims to improve the numeracy and general capacity of social science undergraduates to produce and communicate high quality (quantitative) research.

Jan MacvarishMacvarish photo

Dr Jan Macvarish is a researcher in the Department of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, where she is working on the Nuffield Foundation-funded project Siblings, Contact and the Law: An overlooked relationship? Jan is also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies.

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. 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 book, Neuroparenting: The Expert Invasion of Family Life (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016),  critiques the growing influence of ‘neuroparenting’ in British policy and politics.

Her personal blog is

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; and explored the ethical and legal challenges posed by the online availability of medical abortion pills.  She is currently working on a historical study of the Abortion Act (1967).

Robbie Sutton

Dr Robbie Sutton is Professor of 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

Max Anthony-Newman

Max Antony-Newman has got his PhD in Education in November of 2018 from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto focusing on parental involvement among immigrant parents (Antony-Newman 2018). His doctoral research is on the parental involvement of Eastern European immigrant parents in Canadian elementary schools through the Bourdieusian lens. This project aimed to explore how social and cultural capital of immigrant parents affects patterns of their involvement in the host country, and how the involvement of immigrant parents matches the expectations of their teachers and narratives expressed in policy documents. My next research will be a study of the role of teachers and school leaders in the practice of parental engagement to analyse their conceptualization of parental engagement, expectations towards parents, especially from minority and immigrant groups, and preparedness to develop democratic family-school partnerships. Twitter: @maxantonynewman

Edmée Ballif

Edmée Ballif is a Swiss National Research Foundation fellow and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent and at the Reproductive sociology research group, University of Cambridge (2020-2022). She is interested in the way institutions (re)produce social stratification based on gender, sex, race, class or nationality, especially in regard to parenting and reproduction. Before joining CPCS, she has conducted research for the Centre for Gender Studies, University of Lausanne (2019-2020), the School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (2018-2020), the Sociology Laboratory (2010-2018) and the Institute of social sciences of contemporary religions, University of Lausanne (2008-2010).

Her PhD research analysed the social government of pregnancy. Drawing from an ethnographic study of a psychosocial pregnancy care centre in Switzerland, she argued that pregnant women are an object of discipline and surveillance; that we witness the extension of parenting norms into pregnancy, making it the first phase of childhood; that this surveillance is extended from pregnant bodies to pregnant minds under the influence of various fields such as psychology, child development, neuroscience or epigenetic. She carried out this work as a doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Lausanne (2010-2013, 2015-2017) and as a Swiss National Research Foundation fellow and visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University (USA) in 2013-2015.

At CPCS, she is working on a research project on child veganism. The project investigates how “good” and “bad “parenting is defined in reference to social and environmental reproduction as well as the interplay of gender, nationality, race and class in the discourses on child veganism.

Synnøve Bendixsen

Uni Rokkan

Synnøve Bendixsen 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. A recent project, with Hilde Danielsen, was “Parenting cultures and risk management in plural Norway”.

Geraldine Brady


Dr Geraldine Brady is a Reader in Sociology of Childhood and Youth at Coventry University. She has carried out a number of empirical research projects with children, young people and parents and is oriented to influencing socially just change in policy and practice. Geraldine has undertaken funded research to explore the knowledge and confidence of social workers in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation (NSPCC), researched young people’s views of sexual consent, coercion and exploitation (British Academy), children’s views on speaking out following abuse (NSPCC), risk factors in Child Sexual Abuse/Exploitation (Home Office/EIF), professional perspectives on the use of screening tools to assess ‘risk’ of CSE (CECSA/Barnardos). Geraldine takes a critical sociological approach to issues identified in policy as ‘a social problem’ (teenage pregnancy, child sexual exploitation, non-consensual sexual behaviour, child safeguarding and protection, children’s behaviour, prison rehabilitation) and explores the topic from the perspective of children, young people, parents and professionals to generate alternative knowledge. With colleagues she has published in Journal of Youth Studies, British Journal of Social Work, Children and Youth Services Review, Sociology of Health and Illness, Children and Society. Most recently Geraldine has been Co-Investigator on a UK wide mixed methods research study involving 7 partner Universities which explored links between family location poverty/deprivation and children’s chances of coming into contact with children’s services (Nuffield Foundation).

Linda Blum

LindaLinda Blum PhD is a 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, winner of the 2016 Outstanding Publication prize, Disability and Society Section, American Sociological Association).  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 has recently been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2017-18) in connection with the project ‘Wellbeing, Law and Society: Politics, Policy and Practice – A Socio Legal Study’ and Richard is a member of the National Legal Professions Wellbeing Taskforce.  He is conducting another research project on fatherhood, masculinities and work-life balance in the legal profession. 

Hilde Danielsen

Uni Rokkan

Hilde is a research Professor currently based at NORCE 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 Professor in Sociology at the University of Bristol and Head of School for Policy Studies. 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 Senior Research Associate and Deputy Director of 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, has recently been published by Princeton University Press. 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

Ashley Frawley

I am Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Swansea University and Programme Director of the BSc Social Sciences programme. I am the author of Semiotics of Happiness: Rhetorical Beginnings of a Public Problem (2015) and the forthcoming Significant Emotions: Rhetoric and Social Problems in a Vulnerable Age. Using constructionist approaches to social problems, my research explores the problematisation of emotion and the emotionalisation of social problems. More recently, I have been interested in the use of claims about children’s wellbeing and mental health in public campaigns to outlaw mild forms of physical discipline in the home. I am also a member of the editorial board for Zero Books.

Val Gillies

ValVal Gillies is Professor of Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Westminster. Previously she was a Research Professor at Goldsmiths Collage, University of London working on a project funded as part of the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative. Before this she was a Director of the Families & Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University. 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 a 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


Katrien De Graeve is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), 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 first FWO project explored the concept of care ethics through an empirical study of care relationships of unaccompanied minors in Belgium. In her current research project (2016-2019), she has shifted focus to the study of sexuality/romantic relationships and discourses of exclusivity and plurality in light of the normative two-parent nuclear family. 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.

Zeynep Gurtin


Zeynep is Lecturer in Women’s Health in the Institute for Women’s Health at UCL. Her research concerns the social and ethical aspects of assisted reproductive technologies and their globalisation, in particular the gendered and relational questions the possibilities of these technologies raise for contemporary women. Her PhD work was an analysis of the cultural constructions of IVF in Turkey, examining the intersections between the government’s “patriarchal pronatalism” agenda, involuntary childless couples’ desires for a child, and the political economy of the global assisted reproduction industry. More recently, her work has focused on cross-border reproductive care; egg sharing; and Currently, Zeynep’s work focuses on egg freezing, using social science research to improve clinical practice and the experience of women thinking through their fertility options or considering egg freezing. Prior to her current role, she was a Senior Researcher at the London Women’s Clinic and a Research Associate with Professor Sarah Franklin at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), University of Cambridge.

Vicki Harman

Vicki Harman September 2015 cropped

Vicki Harman is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey. 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).

Raquel Herrero-Arias

Raquel Herrero-Arias is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bergen (Norway). She holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work and Social and Cultural Anthropology, a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies and an Erasmus Mundus Master in Social Work with Families and Children. Her doctoral project explores the experiences of parenting among Southern European migrant parents in Norway. During her doctoral studies, she has been a visiting fellow at the University of Radboud (the Netherlands) and at the Centre for Parenting Studies at the University of Kent, supervised by Professor Ellie Lee. In December 2019, she became a research collaborator on Romomatter, a project funded by the Justice Programme of the EU 2012-2020 that explores teenage motherhood among Roma girls. Raquel is also a collaborator on a study that collects data on refugee’s understanding of the measures implemented by the Norwegian government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which is funded by Stiftelsen Dam. She is a member of the Child Welfare, Equality and Social Inclusion research group at the University of Bergen. In Latin America, she has been invited to become a guest lecturer at the University of Concepción (Chile), at the Master in Sexual and Reproductive Health. Recently, her research has focused on Child Welfare Services Emergency Preparedness, migrant parenting and risk management, migrants’ experiences with health care in the host country, narrative research, and Intimate Partner Violence and mothering.

Lesley Hoggart

Professor Lesley Hoggart works 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 Visiting Research Fellow with the Repro Soc group at Cambridge University.  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 associate professor at Anthropology Programme, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is also a principal researcher at the Centre for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies CIIR-FONDAP. She is interested in the intertwining of changing parenting cultures, kinship and personhood and in the implications of expert and state involvement in parenting and child development. She has carried out fieldwork in Santiago de Chile and in the Araucanía Region with Mapuche. 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. She is also co- author of two chapters in the book The Cultural Nature of Attachment: Contextualizing Relationships and Development

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.

Sunna Símonardóttir

Dr. Sunna Símonardóttir is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Iceland. She completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Iceland in 2017. In her doctoral thesis, entitled Discipline and Resistance: Constructing the “good” Icelandic mother through dominant discourses on bonding, breastfeeding and birth she explored the dominant discourses on motherhood in Iceland, focusing on three key maternal activities; bonding, breastfeeding and birth. Her interests include: Gender and Feminist Theory, Medicine and the Body, Cultures of Parenthood, Parental Leave and the Distribution of Care. Her current project focuses on the coexistence of shared parenting and intensive mothering narratives in Iceland in relation to parental leave and critically engages with the pull towards intensive mothering within the context of Nordic feminism.

Anna Strhan


Anna’s research and teaching interests are in the sociology of religion, in conversation with the sociology of the family, childhood studies, urban sociology, the sociology of the body, and the anthropology of religion and ethics.

After studying Theology and Religious Studies as an undergraduate and Literature, Philosophy and Religion for my MA, Anna worked as a secondary schoolteacher before returning to academic study. Her first PhD, which she completed in 2010, was primarily philosophical, examining the implications of the work of Emmanuel Levinas for how we think about the relations between subjectivity, ethics and education. This was the subject of her first monograph, Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility. After completing her PhD, she decided to move into the sociology of religion and undertook a second PhD, developing theoretical interests in morality, meaning-making and modernity through an ethnographic study of a large conservative evangelical congregation in London. This project explored how church members negotiated their faith – including their countercultural teachings on gender, sexuality, and other religions – across different urban spaces, and offered insight into the processes through which they learnt to understand themselves as an alienated minority in contemporary British society. Her second monograph, Aliens and Strangers? The Struggle for Coherence in the Everyday Lives of Evangelicals, was based on this research and was shortlisted for the BSA/BBC Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award. She took up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Kent in 2012, followed by a lectureship in 2015.

At the University of York, she is currently completing a monograph, The Figure of the Child in Contemporary Evangelicalism, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork exploring evangelicals’ engagements with children across the spaces of home, church, school, and broader political life. She is also leading a 19-month ethnographic project exploring what it means to be nonreligious for children in the UK. As numbers of the avowedly nonreligious continue to rise in western Europe and North America, particularly amongst younger age cohorts, this research contributes to growing interest in the sociology of nonreligion and the secular through deepening understanding of how children and adults in relation to them negotiate, construct, and reconstruct forms of nonreligion and secularity through everyday practices across school and home life.

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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