Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Parenting Culture, Childhood, and Adult-child Relations in the Contemporary Age

23 May 2018, 9:15 am–4:30 pm

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Event Information

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IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing

Whilst 'Parenting Culture' and 'Childhood' are now well-established fields of multi-disciplinary social science scholarship, so far, the tensions and resonances between these two bodies of work have not been significantly explored, particularly in global contexts. Taking 'adult-child relations' as the locus of this comparison, this symposium, organised by Charlotte Faircloth and Rachel Rosen (based in the Department of Social Science, University College London) brings together novel contributions from scholars working in both of these fields, and who are interested in creating connections between them.

The papers explore the ways contemporary cultures of childhood intersect with parenting cultures, and vice versa, especially as they relate to notions of risk and responsibility (Lee et al 2014), highlighting their local manifestations and global reach. Furthermore, they trace recent shifts in political and economic circumstances of family life as they relate to gender, generation, and neoliberalisation e.g. (re)familisation, privatisation, and the shifting international division of care labour (Rosen & Newberry 2018). In so doing, the papers highlight the multi-directional, intergenerational, and transnational engagements which characterise parent-child relationships and adult-child relations more broadly (Alanen & Mayall 2001; Baldassar & Merla 2014).

The papers presented at the workshop focus on local and transnational aspects of parent-child relationships. They prompt, and in some cases directly engage in, cross-cultural comparison, drawing on research in a range of geographical locations to expose both the continuities and differences of contemporary family life in a globalized age.

Please register via the UCL STORE. There will be a nominal £10 fee to cover lunch and refreshments.

We have a limited number of travel bursaries available for non-stipended participants. If you would be interested in this support, please email c.faircloth@ucl.ac.uk by 19th April 2018 with a short description of your research interests and saying why you would like to attend. We are particularly interested in supporting participants whose research is transnational in focus and participants who come from under-represented groups in academia.


9.15 - 9.45 Registration

9.45 Welcome - Professor David Voas (Head of Department, Social Science, UCL)

9.50  - 10.20 Scene setting - Charlotte Faircloth (UCL) and Rachel Rosen (UCL)

10.20 - 11.15 Keynote address: "To be ever present". Children's and Parents' discourses on parenting in Chile today - Ana Vergara del Solar (Diego Portales University, Santiago de Chile). Respondent: Professor Val Gillies (University of Westminster, London). Chair: Francesca Vaghi (UCL/SOAS)

11.15 - 11.45 Coffee

11.45 - 1.15 Panel 1: Theorising adult-child relations. Chair: Judith Suissa (UCL Institute of Education)

  • Doing good parenthood as we-ness - Allan Westerling (Roskilde University, Denmark) Anna Sparrman (Linköping University)
  • Alternative geographies of childhood: thinking through and beyond child-adult relations - Matej Blazek (Newcastle University), Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham)
  • Parenting apps and the disposition of the parent as a pedagogical figure - Stefan Ramaekers (U. Leuven) and Naomi Hodgson (Liverpool Hope University)

1.15 - 2.15 Lunch

2.15 - 4 Panel 2: Family, the state and adult-child relations. Chair: Carol Vincent (UCL Institute of Education)

  • "State-Parent-Child Relations in the 'Strong' State of Singapore: Perspectives of socio-economically disadvantaged families" - Charleen Chiong (University of Cambridge)
  • Accidents Waiting to Happen: Anxious Parents and Vulnerable Children in Turkish Newspapers in the 1980s - Deniz Arzuk, (Linköping University)
  • "Of course we'll like it, we're kids!" "Moderation" versus Childhood in the United States - Jennifer Patico (Georgia State University)
  • Parenting in the Playground Heterotopia - Alkistis Pitsikali and Rosie Parnell (Northumbria University)

4 - 4.30 Review and Reflections: Julia Brannen (UCL Institute of Education) followed by closing discussion.

Image: © Britt Permien