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child’s negotiation of this extimacy marks other relational encounters. As explained earlier, my own recent foray into autotheory was prompted by a similar acknowledgement of the ‘toxic maternal’, which led me to question my own career choices in light of my impossible maternal separation. Madeleine Grumet’s work, it may be argued, uncovered the centrality of the complex mother–daughter relationship in the professional lives of teaching women, thereby prefiguring the anchoring role of the maternal in autotheoretical texts written by women who use the genre to explore

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The social implications of epigenetics and neuroscience
Authors: David Wastell and Susan White

In recent years, new areas of biology, especially epigenetics and neuroscience, have enthralled the public imagination. They have been used as powerful arguments for developing social policy in a particular direction, from early intervention in the lives of disadvantaged children to seeking ‘biomarkers’ as identifiers of criminality.

This timely book, written by leading commentators, critically examines the capabilities and limitations of these biotechnologies, exploring their implications for policy and practice.

The book will enable social scientists, policy makers, practitioners and interested general readers to understand how the new biologies of epigenetics and neuroscience have increasingly influenced the fields of family policy, mental health, child development and criminal justice.

The book will facilitate much needed debate about what makes a good society and how best to build one. It also draws attention to the ways that the uncertainties of the original science are lost in their translation into the everyday world of practice and policy.

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This book offers an analysis and summary of the uses, abuses and limitations of attachment theory in contemporary child welfare practice.

Analysing the primary science and drawing on the authors’ original empirical work, the book shows how attachment theory can distort and influence decision-making. It argues that the dominant view of attachment theory may promote a problematic diagnostic mindset, whilst undervaluing the enduring relationships between children and adults.

The book concludes that attachment theory can still play an important role in child welfare practice, but the balance of the research agenda needs a radical shift towards a sophisticated understanding of the realities of human experience to inform ethical practice.

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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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How Mothers Manage Flexible Working in Careers and Family Life
Author: Zoe Young

Shortlisted for the BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2019.

What’s it really like to be a mother with a career working flexibly?

Drawing on over 100 hours of interview data, this book is the first to go inside women’s work and family lives in a year of working flexibly.

The private labours of going part-time, job sharing, and home working are brought to life with vivid personal stories.

Taking a sociological and feminist perspective, it explores contemporary motherhood, work-life balance, emotional work in families, couples and housework, maternity transitions, interactions with employers, work design and workplace cultures, and employment policies.

It concludes that there is an opportunity to make employment and family life work better together and offers unique insights from women’s lived experiences on how to do it.

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An interdisciplinary approach to social inequality and well-being
Editor: Adrian Bonner

This book provides an applied, interdisciplinary approach to an understanding of the key social determinants of health, essential at a time of increasing inequalities and reductions in existing NHS services and local authority budgets.

A person’s health and wellbeing is influenced by a spectrum of socioeconomic, cultural, living and working conditions, social and community networks and lifestyle choices. Based on the ‘rainbow model’ of the social determinants of health, chapters from experts in a wide range of disciplines examine the key factors which can lead to poor quality of life, homelessness and reduced mortality.

Featuring practitioner, academic and commentator experiences, and clear case studies, this book will enable researchers, front-line workers, managers, service commissioners and politicians to identify and employ the most appropriate health, social and economic interventions to support those at the edge of the community, and the promotion of their inclusion in society.

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Authors: David Wastell and Sue White

the maternal separation condition’ (Dawson et al, 1994: 772). More ‘positive’ emotion it would seem. In truth, there is a vast gallimauphry of neuroscience research, but little settled knowledge. Evidence for policy making does not simply repose in journals ‘ready to be harvested’ (Greenhalgh and Russell, 2006: 36). Rather, it is ‘rhetorically constructed on the social stage so as to achieve particular ends’ (Greenhalgh and Russell, 2006: 37). This seems an apt enough description of Allen’s modus operandi. Although ‘journal science’ is invoked, he seems not

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Authors: David Wastell and Susan White

nonhandled rats 90 minutes after the test, compared to the handled rats, for whom the levels had returned to baseline after 60 minutes. The study concludes: ‘our findings suggest that the mechanism by which the early environment influences the stress response involves the regulation of GR concentrations in the hippocampus’ (Meaney et al, 1985: 734). Crucially, the paper does not explain why human handling and maternal separation during suckling is apparently so beneficial in developing a greater level of resistance to stress. We might plausibly expect such

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minutes every day (placed in a plastic container away from the mother’s cage) showed 24% higher concentrations of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the hippocampus, a protein that has an important role in modulating the stress response. The paper does not explain why human handling and maternal separation during suckling are apparently so beneficial in developing a greater level of resilience. That both handling (which involves maternal separation and isolation) and high nurturance seem to confer identical benefits in terms of stress reactivity seems, for the lay

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Author: Adrian Bonner

, 1977). The work by Kagan (Kagan et al, 1988) provides an important insight into the physiological mechanisms that underpin mother–infant bonding and anxiety produced by disruption of the bond as a result of maternal separation. The conclusion from animal studies is that opiate-using neural pathways regulate affiliative (mother–infant) behaviours. In summary, when a young monkey is separated from its mother, opiate-releasing and opiate- sensitive mechanisms become inhibited. This gives rise to yearning for the mother and a generalised vulnerability and

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