Email newsletter

Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS)

Welcome to the 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.

If for any reason you do not want to receive future mailings, let me know.

Ellie Lee, Director CPCS

Visit our Blog [] and ‘like’ us on Facebook to find out the latest []

CPCS in Print: Read our book Parenting Culture Studies

Order from Palgrave in the UK [] and in the rest of Europe []


Pregnancy and the pitfalls of the ‘teachable moment’

Introduced by Dr Abigail Locke
Date & time: Tuesday 11 October, 14.30

This is a joint event with CRRC’s Alcohol and Pregnancy Research Network and will be on Zoom. Abigail will be discussing the ideas set out in her recent paper, ‘Putting the ‘teachable moment’ in context: A view from critical health psychology’

The concept of ‘Teachable Moment’ (TM) is an increasingly used term within mainstream health psychology in relation to interventions and health behaviour change. It refers to a naturally occurring health event where individuals may be motivated to change their behaviours from unhealthy ones to healthier choices. Pregnancy is seen as a key time for behaviour change interventions, partly due to the idea that the mother has increased motivations to protect her unborn child. This paper proposes a Critical Health Psychological (CHP) re-examination of the concept and explores the ‘teachable moment’ within a wider framing of contemporary parenting ideologies in order to offer a more critical, nuanced and contextual consideration of pregnancy and the transition to motherhood. The paper locates these discussions using an example of alcohol usage in pregnancy. In doing so, this paper is the first of its kind to consider the ‘teachable moment’ from a critical health psychological perspective.

On Zoom: please email to book a place.

CPCS@Battle of Ideas 2022

Dates 15 & 16 October
Venue: Church House, Westminster, London
Full programme
Tickets (with very cheap offers for students).

The Battle of Ideas is an annual festival of debate and discussion held in London over a weekend in October, and CPCS has been honoured to be a partner, and programme sessions at it, over many years. This year, we are partnering in the strand of discussions at the festival called ‘Private Lives, Public Affairs’. This takes place through the day on Saturday 15 October.

Nancy McDermott, author of ‘The Problem With Parenting’ will be starting the day with a short lecture at ‘Parenting Problems and the Future of the Family

CPCS Associate Frank Furedi is one of the speakers discussing, ‘Infantilisation: The Collapse of Adult Authority?’.

Ellie Lee, Director of CPCS, is a panellist for the final session in the strand, ‘Bye-Bye Baby? The Birthrate Debate’.

Over the two days, there are more than 100 discussions to choose from, covering on all major issues, with masses of great speakers taking part.

Jennie Bristow from CPCS will be taking part in one of the sessions forming the strand onIdentity Politics, titled, ‘The trans teen trend: a case of social contagion?’. This strand also includes ‘The future of abortion rights’ with Kent University postgraduate student Dervla Murphy among the speakers.

You can watch previous discussions we have programmed at the Battle of Ideas here.


Research news

After Choice: FASD and the ‘managed woman’

This project is a collaboration with bpas’ Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, and takes policies, guidance and healthcare practices about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as its focus. It builds on previous research considering the ascendence of claims about the salience of the ‘precautionary principle’ for providing advice to women about alcohol and pregnancy.

Our most recent publication is ‘Using meconium to establish prenatal alcohol exposure in the UK: ethical, legal and social considerations’ (Journal of Medical Ethics). The paper is not Open Access, but here’s an accompanying Blog, and Abstract below.

An expanding policy framework aimed at monitoring alcohol consumption during pregnancy has emerged. The primary justification is prevention of harm from what is termed ‘prenatal alcohol exposure’ (PAE), by enabling more extensive diagnosis of the disability labelled fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Here we focus on proposals to include biomarkers as a PAE ‘screening tool’, specifically those found in meconium (the first newborn excrement), which are discussed as an ‘objective’ measure of PAE.

We ask the overarching question, ‘Can routine screening of meconium to establish PAE be ethically or legally justified’, and we answer, ‘No’. To reach this conclusion, we discuss three areas. First, we consider the reasons why meconium screening should not be deemed ‘typical’ within the scope of accepted screening tools. We argue that given the aim and necessary timing of the screen, it cannot achieve what it promises. Second, we outline why patient autonomy and consent are not properly accounted for and cannot be reconciled with the ‘routinisation’ of the proposed ‘screening’. Last, we outline why the benefit of such a screen is not clear, focusing on the significance of trust in healthcare professionals (HCP) for the best interests of the future child and pregnant woman.

While recognising the adverse effects of heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy, we emphasise the case for robust ethical, legal and social considerations and the central need for trust between HCP and patients in maternity care. We conclude the permissibility of meconium screening has not been proven, and it is not justified.

Read more about the project here.

Update on FACT-Covid: Families and Community in a time of COVID-19

This study is currently in the writing up phase, but you can stay up to date with outputs here.

Listen to Charlotte Faircloth in discussion on Woman’s Hour about women, gender and Covid times; drawing on the research with colleagues at UCL about family life.

Generations and Society

Watch Jennie Bristow’s Thought Leader talk for the Connecting Generations project: ‘The Problem of the Covid Generation‘.

Find out the latest from the interdisciplinary Generations Network.


Read and listen on…!