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For anyone studying childhood or families a consideration of the state may not always seem obvious, yet a good critical knowledge of politics, social policy and social theory is vital to understanding their impacts upon families’ everyday lives. Accessibly written and assuming no prior understanding, it shows how key concepts, including vulnerability, risk, resilience, safeguarding and wellbeing are socially constructed.
Carefully designed to support learning, it provides students with clear guidance on how to use what they have read when writing academic assignments alongside questions designed to support the develop of critical thinking skills.
Covering issues from what the family is within a multicultural society, through issues around poverty, social mobility and life-chances, this book gives students an excellent grounding in matters relating to work with children and families. It features:
‘using this chapter’ sections showing how the content can be used in assignments;
tips on applying critical thinking to books and articles – and how to make use of such thinking in essays;
This chapter describes household practices with respect to indoor comfort in hot and cold weather, bodily cleanliness, and household cleanliness. While cleanliness and comfort involve mundane habits that are easily taken for granted, the eco-conscious households interviewed for this book have made changes to conventional ways of getting things done to make their practices more sustainable. In some cases, these changes take more unwaged time but in other cases these changes—intriguingly—result in less unwaged time devoted to mundane household practices. While it has been said that dirt exists in the eye of the beholder, the same might be said for comfort temperatures, which are at once formed socially and culturally, as well as based on individual tolerance and preference. So while the social meanings of cleanliness and comfort and the things we do to feel clean and comfortable have changed in ways that place increasing demands on natural resources, my informants reveal the potential reductions in demand for resources associated with changing the social meanings of cleanliness and comfort, and, with that, the accompanying time-consuming and resource-demanding practices.
In a timely and innovative chapter, the author (a practising occupational therapist and Approved Mental Health Professional [AMHP]) acknowledges and responds to the structural barriers and professional boundaries relating to occupational therapists undertaking the AMHP role in England and Wales. Specific professional frames are presented and the suitability and convergence of occupational therapists’ practice and values as part of compulsory decision making are outlined. The case for occupational therapist AMHPs is made creatively and with profession-specific detail. The chapter sets out how occupational therapists can continue their health-enabler role into their AMHP practice in the ways in which they consider alternatives to hospital and promote people’s independence through their clinical reasoning, decision making and communication skills. The chapter raises awareness about occupational therapists’ values and skills and how they relate to human rights work in a mental health context; in so doing, it serves as a vehicle to promote the profession and inspire therapists to train in these roles and thereby improve AMHP recruitment.
This chapter revisits, synthesises and reconciles the ideas raised in the introductory chapter and throughout the book. It summarises how the different frames connect and reviews how to practice across boundaries, emphasising that there are alternatives to rigid thinking where there is seemingly no middle ground. Suggestion are made for ongoing professionalism and practice wisdom, in keeping with policy and statutory reforms.
This chapter concludes the book by explaining why households are making interventions in conventional ways of getting things done and what this might mean for policymakers and others who are considering promoting household-level pro-environmental practices. Household sustainability efforts, while well intentioned, are most frequently aimed at addressing environmental problems that eco-conscious households view as originating at other sites and on other scales. Each household individually repeats common sustainability tasks that could be achieved more effectively collectively or on a larger scale. At the same time, environmental and social problems are caused by the organization of families into individual households, a modern arrangement that is both socially and environmentally taxing. The eco-conscious parents interviewed for this book are trying their best to do something different. And some pragmatic reforms that involve changing the social meaning of practices in ways that decrease the demand for resources may provide a practical path forward. But without radical transformations in infrastructures and institutions—including the family household—these efforts will always fall short of what is needed to fully protect people and the environment from harm.
This chapter describes the conflicts that arise as a result of priorities and pro-environmental interventions in mundane practices that put eco-conscious households out of step with the mainstream. What we see is an already universally fraught situation—unique human beings cohabitating and disagreeing—exacerbated by unconventional, often time-consuming practices and heartfelt passion for environmental priorities. This chapter shows how these differences in priorities and the social meaning of practices in eco-conscious households produce conflict within these households and the close personal relationships of household members.
This concluding chapter is authored by the editors of the collection and seeks to bring together the main, overarching themes of the book. In doing so it reminds the reader of the Women, Family, Crime and Justice’s (WFCJ’s) main aims and purpose, and recaps on the work undertaken by members of the network to date. It then goes on to discuss the books two major themes: the punishment of women in the criminal justice system and experiences of violence, abuse and justice. In discussing the mentioned themes, the chapter reiterates arguments of inadequacy of current criminal justice interventions which often result in a failure to meet needs, and the need for effective social change and justice.
None of the eco-conscious parents of young children interviewed for this book grew up exactly the same way that they live now, so many of them had to spend considerable amounts of time and effort to learn about sustainability and new sustainable ways of getting things done in everyday life. They talk to friends and family members, they read books and websites, and they learn on the job as part of their waged work to gain practical know-how and to acquire information that helps them make more environmental choices. These efforts might be called “human capital acquisition”—investments in productivity-enhancing skills that involved a trade-off such as time or money that could have been used for some other purpose but that was dedicated to gaining skills and knowledge. Or, these efforts might be seen as gaining “competence” in theories of social practice. And these efforts to acquire know-how that is useful for bringing everyday life into alignment with pro-environmental values can be thought of as one component of the unwaged work that takes place in these eco-conscious households—an input into the household production process.
This chapter presents a Marxist-feminist model of household production in capitalism based on ethnographic interviews with eco-conscious parents of young children. In this model, households, capitalist firms, and the state rely on inputs from the other sectors in their production process to perpetuate their own existences and, in turn, that of capitalist society as a whole. Household production can take place using varying proportions of inputs, but changing the proportions of these inputs does not change the underlying production process let alone the organization of capitalist society. This model leads to the conclusion that the reproduction of labor-power that takes place in households and elsewhere cannot be divorced from the reproduction of capitalist society, nor from the human and environmental disasters inherent to it. This helps to explain why the ecologically conscious parents interviewed for this book feel exhausted, frustrated, guilty, and as if none of the pro-environmental interventions that they are turning into mundane everyday practices are actually making a difference.
This chapter draws from auto/biographical reflections from working in a women’s centre. The site and all names have been anonymised but feed into a wider discussion of the troubling relationship between women’s centres and the marketisation of rehabilitation. Auto/biography provides an invaluable way of demonstrating that the feminist researcher cannot be separated from the research (Ahearne, 2021; Baldwin, 2021). Alternatives to custodial sentencing for women are often uncritically considered to be a positive step in criminal justice reform. This chapter interrogates the harms that can arise from the (mis)use of punishment in women’s centres and the empty neoliberal rhetoric of ‘empowerment’ that is not trauma-informed and does not seek to challenge the state’s powers and the feminisation of poverty. This neoliberal governance is part of commodifying service users as ‘bums on seats’. This also raises the importance of understanding ‘radical’ alternatives to imprisonment as being on a spectrum of decarceration (Terweil, 2020) and not accepting binary understandings of reform versus abolitionism.