Bad parenting is so often blamed for Britain’s ‘broken society’, manifesting in sites as diverse as the government reaction to the riots of 2011, popular ‘entertainment’ like Supernanny and the discussion boards of Mumsnet.
This book examines how these pathologising ideas of failing, chaotic and dysfunctional families are manufactured across media, policy and public debate and how they create a powerful consensus that Britain is in the grip of a ‘parent crisis’.
It tracks how crisis talk around parenting has been used to police and discipline families who are considered to be morally deficient and socially irresponsible. Most damagingly, it has been used to justify increasingly punitive state policies towards families in the name of making ‘bad parents’ more responsible.
Is the real crisis in our perceptions rather than reality? This is essential reading for anyone engaged in policy and popular debate around parenting.
Tracey Jensen is Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests are concerned with: the reproduction of inequalities and divisions through and across identity categories; policy and popular debates of social mobility and immobility; and parenting culture as it travels across different media and cultural sites and manifests in policy.
Mothercraft to Mumsnet;
The cultural industry of parent-blame;
Parenting - with feeling;
Parenting in austere times: warmth and wealth;
Weaponising parent-blame in post welfare Britain;
Epilogue: 'Mummy Maybot': a new age of authoritarian neoliberalism.
“A timely, energetic, and engaging critique of the presumptions behind parent-blaming in culture and policy-making.” Dr. Jennie Bristow, Canterbury Christ Church University
"A valuable contribution to the debate about the significance of 'parenting' and an educative case study in the social construction of the 'bad parent'." Dr. Jan Macvarish, University of Kent
“Jensen has done a marvellous job here, demonstrating how post-2008 'austerity' measures have sought to inculcate middle-class habits of thrift on those who can least afford them. Overall, this is an exceptional work, picking up the threads of Stuart Hall's 1979 Policing the Crisis and extending its remit to the field of family values.” Prof Angela McRobbie, Goldsmiths, University of London