Edwards, Rosalind and Gillies, Val
Clients or consumers, commonplace or pioneers? Navigating the contemporary class politics of family, parenting skills and education
[in special issue: The Question of ‘Parenting’]
Ethics and Education, 6, (2), . (doi:10.1080/17449642.2011.622982).
n explicit linking of the minutiae of everyday parenting practices and the good of society as a whole has been a feature of government policy. The state has taken responsibility for instilling the right parenting skills to deal with what is said to be the societal fall-out of contemporary and family change. ‘Knowledge’ about parenting is seen as a resource that parents must access in order to fulfil their moral duty as good parents. In this policy portrait, caring for children is posed as a classless and gender-neutral activity. A key theme of this article is that parents from different social class groups are positioned and understand themselves in quite distinct ways in relation to parenting skills advice and expert intervention into their family and home lives. We take a ‘relational’ perspective to show how mothers and fathers from different social class groups see themselves, and are located by policy and practice, as clients or consumers, and as commonplace or pioneers, in relation to parenting support for themselves and the education system for their children. We identify the lived gendered and classed disparities of power, and associated moral worth, attached to particular parenting practices.
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