Seminar 4

Parenting culture and the problem of policy

The British Library, February 16th 2010


Abstracts and papers

Closing keynote presentation: Rescuing adult authority in the 21st century
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Seminar summary

Seminar theme: Throughout this seminar series so far, policy has been implicated as making a powerful contribution in evolution of a new parenting culture. In the opening seminar it was noted that a very distinctive aspect of ‘parenting’ is the definition of this activity as not simply what parents do, but rather a problematic task that needs to be shaped an managed by policy interventions. In considering contemporary fatherhood, it was highlighted in our second seminar that policy now seeks very explicitly to ‘engage fathers’ and influence their parenting style. Policy, it was argued in the third seminar, has played an influential role in formalising and encouraging suspicions about the role of adults in general and parents in particular in caring for and socialising children, by taking terrible but rare examples of child murder and abuse as the starting point for policy development. This seminar provides the opportunity for participants to revisit some of these themes and issues and includes a set of workshops through which participants can consider in more detail the nature and effect of parenting policies.

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