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  • Author or Editor: Rosalind Edwards x
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This article explores the pseudonyms that UK-based family sociologists have used to refer to and discuss participants in writing up their studies from the post-war to the present day. It takes a sociological and temporal perspective on the conventions for naming research participants in qualitative studies of family life. Drawing on major monographs reporting on studies of family lives across the period, I show that, over time, since the 1950s and 1960s, (pseudo)naming practice has reflected a firm trajectory towards an intimate rather than neutral research relationship, with the use of personal names able to convey a sense of closeness to the particular participant by researchers to the readers. I argue that temporal disciplinary investigatory zeitgeists underpin pseudonym conventions, and that personal names have become the normalised, unspoken standard.

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Recent conceptual and in-depth research discussions have seen a shift away from use of the term ‘family’, towards ideas focusing on personal life, intimacy and kinship. In this article we argue for retention of the concept. We consider the implications of this conceptual withdrawal in terms of family researchers’ ability to engage with how families are invoked in ever-intensifying ways in the public political, and the importance of being able to address how this interacts with and shapes everyday family lives and experiences.

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This chapter examines Mod (a ‘modernising’ and investment agenda for change) and Rocker (seeking to conserve established doctrines) approaches to coalition family policy. It argues that Mod and Rocker tensions and alliances can be demonstrated in the socially liberal opening up and moral universalisation of marriage, and the economically liberal and morally categorical dividing off particular sorts of families as in need of targeted early or turn-around intervention to turn them into responsible worker-citizens. It explores the government’s division of ‘hard-working families’, and ‘shirker and scrounger families of Broken Britain’ through considerations of the treatment of marriage and stability in and for families and two key forms of social investment in families (early intervention and interventions to turn around dysfunctional families).

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This article explores the way that the assertion, negotiation and sanctioning of masculinity and femininity, and the construction and reconstruction of gendered identities and sexuality, are part of everyday relationships between brothers and sisters, located in time and place. This stands in some contrast to the dominant ‘cause and effect’ outcome model that characterises much research on sibling relationships. We use in-depth case studies drawn from a qualitative longitudinal study of young people’s prescribed and chosen relationships to explore how continuities and changes in the markers and dynamics of gendered identities are embedded in and constructed through the ebbs and flows of sibling relationships over time and in specific locations.

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This chapter looks at how to involve people who do not speak English in a way that acknowledges the presence of baseline language issues in whatever level and method of involvement is chosen. The first section describes the conceptual base, and refers to two research projects that the authors have conducted and worked on with translators/interpreters. The chapter then considers the way the same conclusion was achieved. It ends by drawing out the advantages of working with interpreters.

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This chapter explores how technocratic social imaginaries have reshaped family policy under recent conservative administrations. We demonstrate how a vision of digital governance has led to an increasing translation of parents and children into digital data points in order to monitor, target and ‘nudge’ family lives. The chapter follows the trajectory of this policy logic towards automation and algorithmic governance, tracing developments through the Cameron, May and Johnson administrations. The resulting financialisation of family intervention projects and routine involvement of private industry and investors is highlighted as a key driver of this digital turn. We show how expensive technological infrastructures are redrawing family state boundaries without the knowledge or consent of those impacted, and we consider the potential impact of this.

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This chapter focuses on how mixed-methods researchers can conceptualise and analyse time and the lifecourse when reusing longitudinal qualitative and quantitative data sources. Specifically, it addresses the methodological and analytical challenges involved in undertaking a mixed-method, longitudinal, research project that reused qualitative and quantitative secondary data to investigate individual attitudes towards voluntarism between 1981 and 2012. Discussing the project’s research design, its mixed-method analyses, and the key learning points of this mixed-method process, the chapter poses a series of key questions. Were the longitudinal qualitative and quantitative datasets used compatible and able to be mixed? What were the roles and relationships between the qualitative and quantitative analyses, did one facilitate the other? Does a mixed-method approach work when researching time and the lifecourse? The chapter examines some of the challenges involved in longitudinal mixed-method research. However it highlights the value of using this approach in the context of understanding British voluntarism.

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Who’s ‘Saving’ Children and Why

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.

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This chapter takes a critical look at assumptions that ‘the wrong type of parenting’ has biological and cultural effects, stunting children’s brain development and passing detrimental social values and behaviour down the generations. It draws out assertions about foundational, determinist brain development and attachment in the early years as the basis and rationale for interventions to ‘save’ children from poor parenting, and then subject them to critique. The chapter also explores the history of understandings of children, family and parenting, and the implications for society, and looks at contemporary understanding that poor parenting results in substandard future citizens who are not fit for the economy of today’s world.

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