New Directions for Parenting Culture Studies

New Directions for Parenting Culture Studies

This series of discussions will be held on Zoom through 2024 and will highlight work by early and mid-career colleagues who have made use of ideas set out in Parenting Culture Studies within their work. All at 3pm GMT, on Zoom. Eventbrite links for booking to follow shortly.

Sunna Símonardóttir (Weds 6 March)

Parenting Culture and declining fertility rates 

Sunna is an Adjunct Lecturer and post-doc at the University of Iceland. She is currently joint PI of the FIBI project – Fertility intentions and behaviour in Iceland: The role of policies and parenting culture that received a Grant of Excellence from the Icelandic Research Fund. Sunna’s research focuses on fertility intentions and behaviour in Iceland. The goal is to understand the decision-making process underlying the choice to have a child and explore how gendered parenting ideologies and circumstances affect decisions regarding the timing and number of children.  The ongoing study will shed light on how individuals and couples make decisions on becoming parents and family size and what they perceive as the rewards or deterrents of parenthood. The study will also explore how parenting culture influences the fertility choices of individuals and how dominant discourses of motherhood and fatherhood are constructed and negotiated.


Background reading:


John Day, Lenore Skenazy as respondent (Weds 27 March)

Intensive parenting, childhood independence and playing out

John is a Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Essex, where he co-leads research training for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He began his research career in Kent, researching his PhD at Canterbury Christ Church University, and before taking up his current post, was the Research Manager at Healthwatch Essex, where studies conducted by the research team that he led were funded by the UKRI, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and the National Lottery Community Fund. His research interests include generational and family sociology and his work in part has considered how changes in parenting culture influences childhood especially around play. Lenore Skenazy has spent now more than 15 years writing and campaigning around childhood independence. She is the founder of the Free Range Kids movement, author of a book of the same name, and more recently a co-founder of Let Grow, the US-based non-profit that works to ‘make it easy and normal for parents to give their kids back a childhood’.

Background reading:

 Ashley Frawley, Claude Martin as respondent (Weds 17 April)

The rise of ‘parenting policy’ and the fragmentation of the family

Ashley is a sociologist who researched her PhD at the University Kent, working with Frank Furedi and Ellie Lee. She was associate professor of Sociology at Swansea University, and is now visiting research fellow at MCC Brussels, where she focusses in part on family policy, and is visiting researcher at the University of Kent, and COO of Sublation Press. She is the author of two books, Semiotics of Happiness (2015) and Significant Emotions: Rhetoric and Social Problems in a Vulnerable Age (2023). She is a contributing editor at Compact Magazine, writes regularly for UnHerd and for other publications, including the New Statesman. Claude is one of Europe’s most eminent sociologists of the family and family policy. His research investigates the protective nature of social ties, the transformation of the family and modes of regulation by public authorities (civil law and social law). He has conducted comparative research on family policies in Europe, and more particularly on childcare policy. He was a member of the European observatory on family issues at the European Commission. CPCS was lucky enough to work with Claude as part of the project he directed from 2017-2020 on Childhood, Well Being and Parenting.

Background reading:

Watch Claude here talking about CPCS:


Raquel Herrero-Arias (Weds 26 June)

The double bind of intensive parenting

Raquel in an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development at the University of Bergen, where she teaches on two Master’s programmes, and assists with postdoctoral training. She got to know CPCS when she was researching her PhD, which was about experiences that Southern European parents have when they raise their children in Norway. The main focus of this research was on how parents navigate through parenting practices, ideals, values and expectations when they encounter social actors at family, institutional and community levels both in Norway and their countries of origin. She spent a term with CPCS during her PhD work as the Centre’s first Visting Doctoral Student.

Background reading:

Watch Raquel here talking about CPCS:


Gabriel Scheidecker (Weds 18 September)

Saving Brains? Early Childhood Interventions in the Global South

Gabriel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies (ISEK), University of Zurich. He received his PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Free University of Berlin in 2015. Before that he graduated in Philosophy and Historical Anthropology from the University of Freiburg, Germany, A cross-cutting theme of his research is childhood, which he explores in various settings. Currently he is conducting research as a principle investigator of the project “Saving Brains? Applying Ethnography to Early Childhood Interventions in the Global South” (2023-2028), funded by an SNSF Starting Grant. The project aims to do both, conduct ethnographic research about early interventions and initiate cross-disciplinary debates about the scientific and ethical validity of such interventions. During his postdoc he focused on children and families in Berlin with a Vietnamese migration history, and their interaction with institutions of childcare and parenting support. For his PhD he conducted research about emotion socialization and relationship formation in a rural community in Madagascar.

Background reading: