Titles on our Children, Young People and Families list range from bestselling textbooks, including the Open University Childhood series, critical monographs such as those in the international Sociology of Children and Families series and the Families, Relationships and Societies journal.
Long-established, this interdisciplinary list brings together work across Childhood Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology. It supports students in their successful study, challenges current policy and practice and offers practical guidance to those working with children and young people in often difficult circumstances.
Children, Young People and Families
Based on lengthy ethnographic fieldwork in Southwest China, this article unpacks how precarity and migration have deeply shaped young migrant workers’ understanding and experiences of friendship. The precarious work and living conditions compel young migrants to put more emphasis on the instrumental aspects of friendship, in which they deeply value friends’ help and practical support, which also intertwine closely with the emotional aspects of friendship. High mobility does not mean that migrants are not able to form and maintain ‘meaningful’ social relationships; rather, it is friends’ support and help which sustain migrants’ precarious and highly mobile ways of living. This article also discusses the burdens and risks that are associated with such friendship practices, and how, despite these ‘dark sides of friendship’, young migrant workers still largely rely on their friends to survive and keep going in the city.
In England and Wales, domestic homicide reviews (DHRs) seek to build a picture of the circumstances preceding a domestic abuse-related death, identify any learning and make recommendations for change. Drawing on data from document analysis of 60 DHR reports, this article explores how a victim’s real name is routinely taken out of use when a DHR report is published and, to disguise their identity, is usually replaced with a pseudonym or some other nomenclature like initials/letters. I report on the name forms used in place of a victim’s real name and the limited explication of both how (pseudo)names were chosen and the role of the family. By exploring how names are used, I argue for a recognition of the assumptions and complexity at the heart of DHRs concerning the place of the victim, family and state, and identify implications for practice, policy and research.
Relatively few studies have addressed the division of labour during the first pregnancy, a period in which the couple is restructured as a result of its new parental role. This study is aimed at exploring how heterosexual couples residing in Santiago de Chile organise the division of paid, domestic and caregiving work, and what arguments support their choices. A qualitative, cross-sectional and multiple-case methodology was employed. Interviews were held with ten couples during their first pregnancy. A hybrid thematic analysis revealed that the transition to parenthood is marked by the traditionalisation of gender roles, with certain differences related to socioeconomic status being observed. Results are discussed in light of co-responsibility and gender norms in Latin America, while their implications for family dynamics and public policy are presented.
There has been an increase in the number of individuals who do not have children for various reasons, whether health, choice or circumstance, as well as those who have children later in the lifecourse. Concurrently, there is a moral panic surrounding the decreasing birth rate. A thematic analysis of posts on the parenting forum Mumsnet explores the significance of childless/freeness, in the context of wider relationships. We find that established categories of ‘mother’ and ‘childless/free’ are reductive, and are more porous than usually framed. We consider the impact of such categories on women’s friendships, finding that they undermine potential solidarities. Drawing on Scott (), we conceptualise the absence of children as significant, but not necessarily a deficit, highlighting the potential to understand childless/freeness in the everyday.
The number of people living alone is increasing in Finland (; ), in Europe () and globally. Individualisation is growing, and many public institutions are adjusting to the rising number of single clientele. At the same time, the couple norm persists, and monogamous partnering is still often seen as the most appropriate way to organise intimate adult life. In this study, we analysed the written stories of 19 single men aged 29–64 and found that the couple norm was predominant in their stories. Internalisation of the norm caused feelings of inadequacy, a lack of self-appreciation and uncertainty about the future. Many men attributed their singlehood to events in their past and felt a lack of agency at present.
In this article, I discuss the development of a child protection system that too often seems to harm rather than help those who are most marginalised, despite countless attempts at reform and reimagining over the decades on the part of so many progressives including feminists. While the focus is mainly on England, many of the developments there are by no means unique, as I will highlight. I focus, especially, on the issues that have emerged in the arena of domestic abuse where those who are often the most harmed are not able to tell not just of the harm, but of what they consider they can do to mitigate it. It can often appear, therefore, that a system has been constructed where abused women are collateral damage in a project that ‘saves’ their children! In this article, I discuss the need for perspectives informed by intersectionality, transformative justice and restorative processes so that we might widen circles of support, voice and accountability.
This article addresses two puzzles that are at the heart of the field of gender divisions of domestic labour. How is it that care concepts seldom appear in a field that is focused on unpaid care work? Why does the field focus on divisions rather than on relationships and relationalities? To address these puzzles, I interrogate some of the conceptual underpinnings in the field’s dominant theories: social exchange and ‘doing gender’. Through a weaving of Margaret Somers’ historical sociology of concept formation and Nancy Fraser’s historical mapping of capitalism, care and social reproduction, I aim to rethink and remake the field of gender divisions of domestic labour through care theories, especially feminist care ethics and care economies research. I argue that care concepts – which highlight relationalities, responsiveness and responsibilities – can radically re-orient how we approach the ‘who’ and ‘what’ questions of this field’s long-standing central focus on ‘who does what?’
In the third millennium, family policies have become the most dynamic part of welfare state policies in developed countries and the forerunners of welfare state development in developing countries. They remain, however, an important dimension of social policy diversification, among both developed and developing countries. Degree and patterns of overall welfare state development, labour market conditions, demographic characteristics, family and gender cultures, political legacies and political cultures – all these factors contribute to shaping which and how family issues are framed as policy-relevant issues. The author addresses some of the research challenges that lie ahead in family policy research, namely: (1) the conceptual and methodological challenges deriving from the enlargement of research, both national and comparative, across an increasingly diversified spectrum of countries; (2) the dual challenge of the diversification of family forms and of international mobility; (3) the interaction between the labour market and family policies and their impact on social class differences; (4) the differential impact of social policies across the social spectrum and diversified family forms; and (5) the multilevel making and governance of family policies and the impact on intra-country differences. According to the author, these challenges are also the consequence of the intersectional character of family policies.
We live in a historic period of heightened and intersecting uncertainties. This article draws on Bauman’s () metaphor of ‘liquid modernity’ to discuss the precariousness of family lives and child and family welfare provision in the context of austerity politics in contemporary England, before going on to consider the implications for research and researchers. Contexts of constant uncertainty have ethical and methodological implications for family research, particularly for studies concerned with services for children and families. When precarisation is an instrument of government, we need approaches to understanding ‘what works’ that are fit for liquid modern times: engaging with the complex contingencies of child and family lives and of the systems and services that they encounter, and actively resisting individualising and deficit-focused narratives in the study of child and family welfare. I focus my reflections on England because it is where I live and work, but the considerations I discuss have relevance for any context where the erosion of welfare provision coincides with growing inequality for children and families.