Call for Papers

Monitoring Parents: Science, evidence, experts and the new parenting culture : Call for Papers

Organised by Parenting Culture Studies and the Kent Centre for Law Gender and Sexuality

The forthcoming event Monitoring Parents: Science, evidence, experts and the new parenting culture provides the opportunity for inter-disciplinary discussion of empirical and theoretical work that explores the increasing advance of a ‘science’ of child-rearing. The organisers hope to encourage discussion of and debate about developments through which ‘parenting’ has been constructed as an activity which can and should be influenced by scientific evidence and expert opinion.

We invite papers which evaluate claims regarding evidence about parenting style; which offer an historical perspective; which consider the increasing reliance on scientific discourses in child-rearing and legal and policy innovation; which explore the relation between this ‘scientisation’ of child-rearing and the wider culture; and which consider the effects of these developments for parental experience. In particular, we are interested in exploring claims that suggest neuroscience provides reliable and important evidence about the developing fetus and child that can be used to inform law and policy intended to shape the behaviour of pregnant women and parents; we hope to focus discussion of one day of this event on this issue.

Conference themes may include: From ‘scientific motherhood’ to the ‘science of parenting’; Contemporary parenting culture in context; Neuroscience and parenting: a new phrenology?; The role of neuroscience in law and policy relating to parenthood; The ‘early intervention’ case: does parenting style matter more than wealth?; Pregnancy in a scientised culture; The scientisation of everyday childcare: feeding, discipline, sleeping, crying, playing, watching TV, reading, daycare choices; The ‘scientisation’ of fatherhood; The relationship between schooling and the ‘home environment’; Therapeutics, emotion, parenting and education; Technology, the media and childhood; Brain-based understandings of adolescent behaviour.

The conference is co-ordinated by Dr Ellie Lee (Senior lecturer, SSPSSR, University of Kent), Dr Jan Macvarish (Research Associate, CHSS, University of Kent) and Professor Sally Sheldon (KCLGS, Kent Law School).  The event will be held at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Efforts will be made to keep costs low and it is expected that the registration fee for participants will be in the region of £75 (to include refreshments for the duration of the event).  Some subsidised places may be made available for low or unwaged participants. If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of around 250 words of your intended paper by April 1st 2011 to Dr Ellie Lee

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