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
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 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.
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.
Women and families within the criminal justice system (CJS) are increasingly the focus of research and this book considers the timely issues of intersectionality, violence and gender. With insights from frontline practice and from the lived experiences of women, the collection examines prison experiences in a post-COVID-19 world, domestic violence and the successes and failures of family support.
A companion to the first edited collection, Critical Reflections on Women, Family, Crime and Justice, the book sheds new light on the challenges and experiences of women and families who encounter the CJS.
Accessible to both academics and practitioners and with real-world policy recommendations, this collection demonstrates how positive change can be achieved.
Chapter 2 considers how families are formed and defined with a focus on socially liberal and socially conservative views as well as the way that this feeds into policy. A discussion of romantic love and of relationships points to how things which can be taken for granted are socially constructed before moving on to introduce and explain discourse. This also raises the issue of discourse operating as power and of the way in which discourses compete.
Chapter 1 illustrates how students can frame their assignments, with Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological model being an example of this. Bronfenbrenner is used to provide a frame for the book as a whole in terms of how children and families exist within social, political and cultural contexts that may change over time. A comparison of Piaget and Vygotsky is also used to illustrate the shortcomings of many psychological approaches towards child development.
An evolving body of academic work is examining women’s experiences of online misogyny: aggressive, threatening or offensive communications and behaviours directed at women and affecting their participation in online spaces. Responses to experiencing this abuse are varied, and categorised by Jane (2017b) into ‘fight and flight’. Developing Jane’s taxonomical approach, this chapter examines some of the approaches women use to deal with online abuse. While a traditional understanding of justice is one which involves engagement with formal reporting systems, such as the criminal justice system and complaints to social media companies, these are not always seen as viable for women facing online abuse. Instead, alternative routes to justice have been sought and used, which are the focus of this chapter.
This introductory chapter opens the edited collection by restating the position, perspective and purpose of the authors/editors of the book who co-convene the Women, Family, Crime and Justice (WFCJ) network. The editors articulate their disappointment at the lack of meaningful change within the criminal and social justice areas associated with the WFCJ network, and the damaging consequences this brings to women and families. It goes on to explain how this second volume both complements the first (Masson et al, 2021) but is appropriately distinct, shedding light on different, but overlapping, issues facing women and families in the current climate.
This chapter takes another taken-for-granted concept, life-chances, and explores how this is understood and how it comes to shape our understanding of childhood, especially in relation to a society characterised by inequalities. Life-chances are explained and distinguished from life-choices, illustrating how life-choices reflect a neoliberal perspective. Issues relating to social class, gender and ethnicity are all used to provide a critical insight into children’s life-chances. Housing is considered to illustrate how governments have changed the landscape of housing, for ideological reasons, with real consequences in making the lives of many children unstable. The chapter also provides a discussion of social mobility and explores how the social structures that we live in have a significant bearing on our futures.
This chapter considers how the state may act to regulate families in line with ideological concerns. It draws on examples of state intervention historically and internationally to illustrate how the state acts towards families. A particular focus is on parenting with consideration of types of parenting and ideas about parenting drawing on political ideologies and policies. A focus on failing families is used to demonstrate discourse and rhetoric in policy with this being used to explore ideas about an underclass.