Caroline J. Gatrell

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:

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Research on parenting, and especially mothering, has been a focus of sociologies and psychologies of parenting and family practices since the 1950s. Research approaches are varied and wide ranging and include concerns about the impact of parenting and paid work on the health of mothers and fathers, feminist studies on the role and position of mothers in society, the manner in which “experts” exert pressure on mothers to parent children according to particular social norms, and the rising importance of children within parents’ everyday lives (especially in relation to paternity). In their seminal text The Normal Chaos of Love, Ulrich Beck and Elizabeth Beck Gernsheim describe the desire of modern parents (both fathers and mothers) to be closely involved with children’s upbringing: (The baby or child is) “superior to other liaisons in our barter and throw-away culture. At least as long as it is young, a child permits one to invest all one’s love and involvement without risk of disappointment, of being hurt and abandoned” (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1995, p. 76, cited under Sociologies of Parenting and Family Practices). The proliferation of research on parenting, especially in the context of relationships between parenting and paid work, has been attributed by the authors of Lewis, et al. 2007 (cited in Broadening Understandings of Parenting and Work) to women’s increased presence within labor markets beginning in the 1970s. This social change, whereby mothers of dependent children increasingly “go out” to work (whereas in the past they might have been expected to remain in the home), has prompted policymakers and scholars across a range of disciplines, including sociology, health, and organizational psychology, to consider the impact on parents and family life. Thus, research seeks to understand how far maternal presence at work affects family life, parenting and child health, and the workplace. In particular, scholars have sought to pinpoint how parents of dependent children are managing to combine employment with what Caroline Gatrell, in her Hard Labour: The Sociology of Parenthood (Gatrell 2005 cited under Sociologies of Parenting and Family Practices), has termed the “hard labour” of parenting. This bibliography examines literature on parenting and work, sociologies of parenting and family practices, and mothering and fathering. This article is organized according to these categories in order to represent the transdisciplinary nature of the topic, which has a wide reach.

Article.  9372 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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