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Room for resistance? Parenting Orders, disciplinary power and the production of ‘the bad parent’

Amanda Holt

in ASBO nation

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420282
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301493 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420282.003.0012
Room for resistance? Parenting Orders, disciplinary power and the production of ‘the bad parent’

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Since their inception in the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, Parenting Orders have provided New Labour with another tool with which to fight its battle against crime and anti-social behaviour. This chapter examines the practice of Parenting Orders through the lens of Michel Foucault's notion of ‘disciplinary power’. Such an approach provides an analytical framework to understand why, despite the neutral term ‘parent’, Parenting Orders tend to be issued to mothers, lone parents, and those living in the most deprived areas in the United Kingdom. This chapter discusses how the mobilisation of the ‘psy-complex’ in the twentieth century has enabled parents to be classified on the basis of white, especially middleclass, ‘norms’ of parenting and how such processes of classification have informed the practices of a number of agencies. It also considers disciplinary power and governmentality, the objectification of ‘bad parents’, appropriation of psychology for policy based on the case of risk factor models, and whether Parenting Orders represent regulation or resistance.

Keywords: United Kingdom; New Labour; anti-social behaviour; Parenting Orders; Michel Foucault; disciplinary power; mothers; lone parents; psy-complex; bad parents

Chapter.  7561 words. 

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