The family and, in particular, maternal behaviour, has long been subject to public scrutiny. However, since the mid-1990s heightened government and media concern with parenting practices has produced a series of escalating moral panics around child welfare issues. While overt parent-bashing and bewailing the demise of the ‘traditional’ family were once associated with the moral majority in the US and old-style Conservatives in the UK, government intrusion into and commentary on family life has become increasingly central to the discourse of all mainstream political parties. The assumption parental incompetency– rather than broader socio-economic conditions–is responsible for a range of social problems has been reflected in public policy and the rise of media commentary (in current affairs journalism and reality TV), on the subject of modern parenting.
On December 8th 2010 CCSR held a seminar on the implications of ideas of shared ‘pain’ which have become so central to the coalition government’s discourse of austerity. Speakers were Kate Pickett (co-author of The Spirit Level), Michael Rustin (of UEL and Soundings), and Jeremy Gilbert. Matthew Reisz, writing in the THE, noted how the event coincided with students taking to the streets ‘ahead of last week’s tuition-fees vote’ and the occupation of part of UEL’s campus. An Audio Recording of the seminar is available here and a copy of Jeremy’s paper ‘Sharing the Pain’ is available here.
University of East London, Docklands Campus, Room: EB.G.10
The idea of job creation and job cuts, working and what to do with those who aren’t working, lies at the heart of the coalition government’s reform programme. The plan is simple: public sector jobs and the welfare state are to be cut radically, while the private sector is supposed to fill the vacuum in terms of job creation and big society caring. Responding to the measures, which will hit women disproportionately, the Centre for Cultural Studies Research is hosting a discussion that will focus on the feminist struggle for equality. The event is the third in CCSR’s “Debt, Pain, Work” series that interrogates the discourses and policies of the coalition government.