A vital interrogation of the internationally accepted policy and practice consensus that intervention to shape parenting in the early years is the way to prevent disadvantage. Given the divisive assumptions and essentialist ideas behind early years intervention, in whose interests does it really serve?
This book critically assesses assertions that the ‘wrong type of parenting’ has biological and cultural effects, stunting babies’ brain development and leading to a life of poverty and under-achievement. It shows how early intervention policies underpinned by interpretations of brain science perpetuate gendered, classed and raced inequalities. The exploration of future directions will be welcomed by those looking for a positive, collectivist vision of the future that addresses the real underlying issues in the creation of disadvantage.
"A compelling critique of contemporary developments in early intervention. Beautifully written and rigorously researched this book deserves a wide audience." Brigid Featherstone, University of Huddersfield
"A powerful and accessibly written analysis, this is an important critical resource for students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners who work with children and families." Janet Boddy, University of Sussex
"This disturbing book forensically unpicks the relationships between science and politics. A milestone contribution to policy research." Stephen J Ball, University College London
Val Gillies is Professor of Social Policy/Criminology at the University of Westminster. She researches in the area of family, social class, marginalised children and young people, and historical comparative analysis.
Rosalind Edwards is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southampton, where she is also Social Sciences Director of Research and a Co-Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods.
Nicola Horsley is a research fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research analyses discourses of citizenship, educational and family practices, and the privileging of scientific and technical knowledge in policy making.
The politics of early intervention and evidence;
Citizens of the future;
Rescuing the infant brain;
In whose best interests?;
Case studies of interests at play;
Reclaiming the future: alternative visions.