The dynamics between expertise, parenting norms and politics kristina johnPresentation Transcript
The dynamics between expertise, parenting norms, and politics
Media-analytical evidence from the Netherlands and Germany
Kristina John (PhD Candidate) and Daniela Grunow (Supervisor)
University of Amsterdam
Monitoring parents: science, evidence, experts and the new parenting culture
University of Kent, September 13th and 14th 2011
1. Research context
2. Why we do the study as we do it
4. Hypotheses derived from policy change
5. Hypotheses derived from media studies
7. Preliminary results
Assessment of contemporary parenting norms and practices and their diffusion in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland
1. How is mothering and fathering constructed by professionals, welfare states, the popular media?
2. How are cultural and institutional norms and images perceived and realized by expecting and new parents?
http://apparent-project.com European Research Council (ERC),
ERC Starting Grant
Why studying the relationship between media discourses and family policies?
1. media discourses shape the perceptions of voters and politicians and frame decision-making (CNN-effect, Koch-Baumgarten, 2009), politicians have to convince voters by communicative action referring to discourses (Habermas 1981)
2. media discourses hint on changing norms and institutions, which can be considered as “coagulated culture and norms” (Abels 2009: 140)
Why not studying relationship between norms and policies by surveys?
1. survey questions about gender attitudes already imply what kind of parental norms exist (e.g.male-breadwinner-female-caregiver-model in the ISSP)
2. our interest: describe how norms derived from discourse about good mothers and fathers look like, changed over time and differ across different countries
Why comparing Germany to the Netherlands?
Germany and the Netherlands historically both belong to the conservative welfare state regime (Esping-Andersen 1990) but followed recently different policy trajectories
( recent other classifications as e.g. hybrid models cp. Knijn and Ostner 2008, differentiation of the cultural meaning regarding the male breadwinner family model Pfau-Effinger 2004)
Can these trajectories be attributed to different discourses?
Translation of policy changes into official policy aims
Kaufmann (2007): aims of family policies:
1. promotion of the family as a value in itself (institutional motive)
2. increasing or decreasing the fertility (demographic motive)
3. manipulating the “quality” of the population (eugenic motive)
4. promotion of human capital (economic motive)
5. decreasing poverty and the disadvantage of families (socio-political motive)
8. We would also add the motive to strengthen father's rights.
-> translation of policies into indices according to these 8 aims in order to measure the relationship between discourses and policy changes
What are discourses?
Rhetorical action, discourse , constitutes a specific mode of instructing people – a ‘second order’ instruction which we propose to call ‘ message ’. Policy changes must be communicated (‘messaged’) in ways that persuade citizens to change their beliefs. Selectively activating ideas (‘Deutungsmuster’, ‘concepts’, ‘cognitive maps’) and values that fit planned reforms and resound with citizens’ discourses is to provide ‘proper’ messages and mediate change (Schmidt 2000)
Special form of discourse: framing (Fiss and Hirsch 2005)
Sense-making of events in a broader context -> Parental discourses will be influenced by events, key figures, policy reforms and general political developments
„ Frames constitute schemata of interpretation that organize experiences and guide actions“ (Fiss and Hirsch 2005: 30)
The role of expertise
“ Expertise is the mastery of existing knowledge and techniques in a given domain. In the context of the medical domain, expertise also inhibits the possibility of “constructing expertise as an end state of “complete” knowledge that evolves, at best, only as the existing knowledge and techniques of the domain evolve “ (Mylopoulos and Regehr 2007: 1163)
It is also grounded in a fierce struggle over ownership and legitimacy” (Hartelius 2008: 2)
Expertise as an indicator for norm change, because norms have to be legitimatised by referring to pedagogic, (development-) psychological, sociological, and (neuro-)scientific expertise
Hypotheses derived from policy changes
The free choice discourse (parents should be able to choose between work and care but also bear the consequences) emerged in the Netherlands especially between the 1980s and the 1990s (Gavazov 2007) due to individualization policies (Knijn 1994) (H1)
Discourses about the Integration of mothers into the labour market
first violet coalition -> emphasize on the economic independence of women
first goverment under Balkenende -> focus on their integrating women into the labour market is stressed from a social-economic perspective
the integration of women into the labour market was focussed on later and less intense. (Willenborg, 2011).
Therefore we assume our hypothesis (2):
H2: Mothers have been considered as being working mothers and important tax payers in the media earlier and more intense in the Netherlands than in Germany
Activation of parents
Analysis of EU Lisbon agreements + National Action Plans (NAP) regarding underlying paradigms (Knijn and Smit 2009):
(affordable services aiming at improving the quality of services and reducing poverty through integration of parents into the labor market through active labor market measures, vocational training and apprenticeships but also child-centred social investment strategy (Hübenthal and Ifland 2011)).
(Life Course Saving Schemes (LCSS), which connect leaves, education and pre-pension through savings and income-related private care schemes. Social activation is customized and targets in contrast to Germany explicitly on women and ethnic minorities)
H3: The concern about the child's well-being, especially it's cognitive development has increased in Germany and is more pronounced than in the Netherlands and therefore more emphasis is put on early childhood's education, whereas in the Netherlands the focus lies more on educating and activating women and ethnic minorities.
The role of fathers
Both countries integrated the role of fathers into care work relatively late (in the fourth government under Balkenende and both coalitions under Merkel (Willenborg, 2011)
H4: Norms about fathers became more pronounced in recent years in both countries
But: in the Netherlands paternal (and emergency) leave has been introduced 1997, 10 years before the two German “daddy months”
H5: The „new fathers“ have appeared in the media about 10 years before in NL
Germany : child well-being constantly a focus in family polices over time
Netherlands : irregular trajectory -> it was an issue in the first Dutch violet coalition but less important during the first two governments under Balkenende but again under the fourth
Compared to Germany the focus was more on schooling policy, early childhood education and youth help. (Willenborg, 2011).
H6: The importance of mothers and/or fathers for the child's development and well-being has been considered as increasingly important in recent years in the Netherlands whether it remained constant in Germany.
Hypotheses derived from media-studies
Parents in the media:
News-reporting: event-oriented, personalized and simplifying, underrepresenting of complex issues and giving direct action implications (Koch-Baumgarten 2009)
But: we consider quality newspapers (Süddeutsche Zeitung for Germany and De Volkskrant for the Netherlands), so the effect should be less dramatic
Direct action implications for parents will be interesting -> incorporation into daily behaviour
pro-natalist dicourse in the context of demographic transition
Implications for mothers:
1st discourse: they are blamed for decreasing birth rates and they are advised to become more traditional again („reproduction strike“), motherhood as the last element of femaleness
2 nd discourse: role confusion
Implications for fathers:
3 rd discourse: role confusion, non-capability of caring, fear of becoming homosexual
H7: we expect to find these three discourses in the media
Different portrayal of mothers and fathers due to historical reasons
idealization during the Nazi-Past (Vinken 2007)
Until 1970s in Western Germany good mothers = good housewives
Former GDR: good mothers = working mothers
Imigration from Turkey and former Soviet Union -> influence on motherhood (Kortendiek 2008)
H8: The different social influences on motherhood result into different discourses
German fathers (3 phases):
1. absent fathers due to the disapproval of children of their fathers because the participated in the Nazi-regime and due to the increase in divorces and lone mothers (Mitscherlich 1963)
2. Womens' movement (1980s) -> incorporation of fathers into care (birth preparation courses, concept of housemen)
3. importance of fathers for the child's development, binding theory, duality
between active fathers (playing partner, contender and teacher, „incarnation of a hero“ Fthenakis 1999 ) and passive mothers (Grossmann et al.
H9: we also expect to find the duality of active fathers and passive mothers within the German media discourse and an increase of seeing fathers as important for the child's development
“ new fathers” seem to grasp a lot less attention than in Germany,
(an exception are the studies by Knijn 1995, Doornenbal 1998, Grünell (2002) : four typs of Dutch fathers combining work and care)
Probably this has something to do with the fact that paternal leave was introduced ten years earlier in the Netherlands than in Germany and consequently there was no need for a new father or the discussion about new fathers emerged ten years before (H10)
Men in caring roles within the media: More in the context of male „nannies“ (childcare facilities):
female nannies: characterized as being caring, modest and homely
male nannies have been described as being humorous and imaginative. Timmerman and Schreuder (2005)
Dutch Mothers appear within a xenophobic discourse
Dutch mothers are usually portrayed as being liberated in contrast to muslim „problem-“ mothers
gender equality policies almost exclusively target on migrant mothers (Roggeband and Verloo 2007)
Policy-mood theses (Stimson 1991) -> recent right-wing populist political developments in the Netherlands seem to spill over to parental media discourses
Recent emerge of xenophobic parenting discourse in Germany
Germany: recently a right-wing discourse also emerged in Germany, but again from a demographic perspective
-> Thilo Sarrazin (SPD, former member of the Executive Board of the German Federal Bank) published a book („Germany abolishes itself“) in 2010 stating that the „wrong uneducated, poor, Muslim parents“ get too many children and the „good white middle-class parents“ don't get enough children
Therefore we expect that the discourses in Germany and the Netherlands assimilated just very recently (H11)
General expectations regarding poor parents
Goodwin and Huppatz (2010): typically discourses about parents are raced and classed
We therefore assume that parents from lower social classes are portrayes as being „bad parents“ vs. Parents from higher social classes are portrayes as being „good parents“ in both countries (H12).
Influence of dominant paradigms
Spigel and Baraister (2009), Connell (2009): ideologies such as patriarchy, conservatism or more recently neo-liberalism are shaping of parental meanings and practices.
Germany and the Netherlands are in some respects similar because they are both conservative welfare states, but liberalization has been more pronounced in the Netherlands.
Therefore we expect that neoliberalist ideas influence the discourses about mothers and fathers more in the Netherlands than in Germany (H13).
First step : qualitative analysis of articles in order to find the right key words for detecting frames
Alternative 1 : describing the relation between discourses (key word count) and policy change (indices according to Kaufmann 2011) in a simple graphic over time using Amcat (https://amcat.vu.nl/navigator)
x1: volume (annual and monthly counts of newspaper using key words, using negative binomial regression)
x2: location (discursive field in which article belongs operationalized as the sections of a newspaper by several logistic regressions)
x3: framing (all sentences which use the respective key word)
X4: diversity within and across discursive field using a diversity index for each year Herfindahl index Diversity = 1 – Ʃ n 1 (section share i ) 2
Concentration measure: 0 = concentration of the discourse in a single section, 1 = discourse is distributed evenly across all sections
Y: periodization (key events like policy changes)
(cp. Fiss and Hirsch 2005)
Preliminary results: The Netherlands rise of cited expertise about parenting
Preliminary results of the Dutch articles (Volkskrant, n= 100)
Since the early 90s: different contradicting discourse about working mothers
pedagogues: it’s not harmful for the child
Association of Christian educators and pedagogues: the child suffers often, but the working mother also fits to the Calvinistic ideal, children need a warm meal 3 times a week
shortly before the introduction of paternal leave: the new father became present in the media (as expected about ten years earlier than in Germany)
Psychologist referring to homosexual couples with children: they prefer to know the biological parent, it’s not harmful for the child if the biological mother is missing in a gay relationship, but it’s harmful if the biological father as a caregive is missing in a lesbian relationship
Youth criminality is attributed to absent fathers by developmental psychologists
Since 2000: neoliberal discourse policy mood hypothesis confirmed
e.g. discourses about educative toys, early investment, critique of cuttings in childcare because of a loss of quality
Preliminary results of the Dutch articles (Volkskrant, n= 100)
shift towards problematizing migrant parents
Introduction of neighbouring mothers who go to migrant ‘problem-families’ in order to help them
Rise of citing evidence from neuroscience and ‘new biologism’: cited experts emphasize sex differences, eg. They state that mothers are more stressed biologically working sphere should adapt to their biological needs
Thank you for your attention!
Comments are more than welcome:
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