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Pam lowe empty vessels

Pam lowe empty vessels






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    Pam lowe empty vessels Pam lowe empty vessels Presentation Transcript

    • Empty vessels? Conceptualisation of ‘the child’ in parenting discourse
      Dr Pam Lowe
      Aston University
      Dr Geraldine Brady
      Coventry University
    • Outline
      The rise of parenting culture
      The ‘child’ in parenting culture
      The child as an empty vessel
      Children as social actors
    • Rise of parenting culture
      Relationship parents and children has always been seen as important
      Concerns about ‘failing’ parents reoccur
      ‘feckless poor’ overbreeding in the 19th century
      condition of evacuees during 2nd World War
      Today parenting is again see as both the cause of and solution to social problems
    • Rise of parenting culture
      Within current parenting discourse we can see three interrelated themes of importance
      Parenting as the determining factor
      Parents totally responsible for children’s health, education, behaviour etc
      Emphasis on intensive motherhood
      Parenting as a project aimed to achieve the
      ‘best outcomes ‘
      Rise of parenting ‘science’
      Parenting ‘rules’ using (and abusing) science
    • Rise of parenting culture
      As part of this culture ‘parenting programmes’ are seen as the policy solution to ‘problem’ parenting
      Parenting programmes ‘translate’ the science of parenting into practice
      Need to be considered as part of the individualisation of social issues within a neo-liberal public health discourse
    • The ‘child’ in parenting culture
      Parenting programmes seek to modify the parents behaviour
      Thus a child’s deviance is mostly
      (or even all) due to poor parenting practices
      Thus the child is a just a malleable compliant body whose life trajectory is to be decided by the actions and/or inactions of others.
    • The child as an empty vessel
      Within child development theories, the child is progresses:
      irrational to rational
      incompetence to competence
      asocial to social
      Socialisation is linked to development theory in producing ‘competent citizens’
    • The child as an empty vessel
      Alongside developmental and socialisation theories run more biologically determined ideas
      ‘Bad blood’ has been updated within
      the geneticisationof society to simplistic understandings of genetic causes
      Yet both genetic and developmental
      ideas also ignore the child ‘s role
      as social actor
    • The child as an empty vessel
      Child seen as the future of the nation
      Child’s bodies subjected to scrutiny
      measuring for deviation from standard norms
      Medicalisation of children’s behaviour
      Social class as mediator truant or school phobic child?
      Conditions individualised
      but (poor) parenting seen as
      potential cause and/or exacerbation
    • Children as social actors
      Previous research has revealed that children are social actors
      Play an active role in negotiating
      their own lives
      Parental/child relationship is reciprocal not unidirectional
    • Children as social actors
      Our previous research has shown:
      How sleep is negotiated between parents and children.
      Children understand their need for sleep but try to balance this with their desire for leisure time
      Children make strategic decisions around medication
      Understanding the impact of their bodies, and how it might impact on their chosen activities
      Children understand but may reject advice about sexual health
      Fully accepting that any consequences are from theri own actions.
    • Children as social actors
      Current discourse of parenting has a pervasive element of determinism
      Good parenting in / useful citizen out
      Ignores the child as a person within specific social and cultural circumstances
    • Summary
      Parenting polices have increasing levels of coercion and consequences
      Increasingly seen as the dominant cause of social problems
      But built on an understanding of children as a empty vessel
    • Summary
      Parenting discourse that regards children as empty vessels is a significant miscalculation
      Children are unique social beings and that a uniform approach is problematic
      The omission of full understanding of children will undermine the outcomes of this policy agenda
      Potentially serious implications for children and parents caught up in the policy