Biographical Approach to Studies of Parenting Culture: Mothers' Experiences Relating to Children's Upbringing
Department of Education, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,
The proposed paper focusses on challenges and opportunities of qualitative biographical methods in studying parenting cultures. The paper is based on the findings from the EC H-2020 ISOTIS project qualitative biographical study of mothers of pre-school and school age children, which was conducted in 10 European countries in 2018. Built upon the concept of bio ecological systems of personal development by Bronfenbrenner (Bronfenbrenner 1979; Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), the study inter alia explored experiences of mothers from economically and culturally disadvantaged families relating to upbringing of their children. Use of the biographical approach in the comparative qualitative study of mothers enabled us to gain insight into interaction between different systems in child’s upbringing. Common research methodology provided an insight into the meaning of parenting from the perspective of mothers from a variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds (native-born, immigrant or ethnic minority) in modern European societies, including changing perspectives on parenting cultures from their own childhood and as compared to their own parents parenting styles.
Rights or Responsibilities? Disabled Children and Young People’s Perspectives on their Rights to Education, Work, Leisure and Travel in the Context of Neo-liberal Policies in Japan and the UK
1University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom; 2J.F.Oberlin University, Tokyo
Over the past 20 years, concerns have been raised in UN Concluding Observations regarding violations of the rights of disabled young people in both the UK and Japan. This prompted a UK-based group of young community researchers (aged 12-24) to initiate participatory research investigating disabled children and young people’s rights to education, work, leisure and travel. Interviews were undertaken with 77 disabled children and young people (aged 9-26) in Japan and 33 in the UK. Data was analysed by 23 young community researchers and 3 academics in the UK and Japan.
The findings from Japan indicate that demanding family working hours policies, and restrictive education and afterschool hours care are accompanied by inadequate provision of accessible and relevant leisure facilities, lack of awareness of leisure opportunities and the benefits of play, and challenges regarding buildings, the costs of travel and the travel system itself. All of these issues were compounded by a lack of parental, professional, governmental and general public understanding of disabilities. There were assumptions about employment within families and a lack of focus on government and business readiness to employ disabled young people. These findings are echoed in emerging analysis of the UK data. We suggest that a neo-liberal approach to children’s citizenship, family and education policies in the UK and Japan emphasises disabled children’s responsibility to create themselves as future productive citizens. It makes children and their families responsible for providing disabled children and young people’s leisure and working opportunities whilst maintaining structural barriers to these.
Who Is Involved In Parental Separation And What Are Their Roles? New Insights From Children´s Perspectives.
University of Vienna, Department of Sociology, Austria
Numerous children experience parental divorce, be it in their own families or in those of relatives, friends or classmates. Although parental separation and its consequences for children have been well-researched, scholarly knowledge about children’s concepts of children’s and other participants’ roles in the course of the divorce process is limited.
Based on a participatory study with 60 8- to 10-year-old children in one rural and one urban Austrian region, we analyze how respondents conceptualize the roles of children and other involved persons during the process of divorce. The study comprises focus groups, individual interviews and a wide range of participatory child-friendly methods like drawings, games, handicrafts or story-telling.
The study is not primarily interested in investigating what children think about their own parents’ divorce, but includes children with divorced parents as well as children who did not experience parental separation.
Results show that children’s accounts about actors and roles were differentiated and rich in detail. Children’s concepts of divorce and their imaginations of involved participants included a wide variety of actors like children, parents, relatives, friends, parents’ new partners or officials like judges or children’s counsellors. While adults’ roles were predominantly characterized as powerful and influential, the respondents’ constructions about children’s roles and possibilities for child participation ranged from powerless and passive (no possibility or intention to participate) to active and reflexive (informed action based on profound knowledge about children’s rights). Furthermore, children’s accounts contained numerous stereotypes that will be presented and related to concepts of children’s agency.
Children’s Views On ‘Good Care’: The Case Of Nanny And Au pair care
Lund University, Sweden
Care for children is, one could argue, a thoroughly researched subject, but children’s own narratives of everyday care, as well as their views of what constitutes ‘good care’ is less explored. The practice of hiring nannies and au pairs to care for children is a widespread solution to work-family dilemmas among middle-class parents. It has been studied from the perspective of paid domestic workers (Anderson, 2000; Ehrenreich & Hochschild, 2002; Widding Isaksen, 2010), and from the perspectives of parents, analysed through the theoretical lens of ‘intensive’ mothering/parenting (Hays, 1996; MacDonald, 2010; Eldén & Anving, 2016). This paper takes the children’s own perspectives as a point of departure: their understandings and narrating of the care situation they find themselves in, when their parents hire nannies and au pairs to care for them. The data comes from a study of ‘nanny families’ in Sweden, where all participating actors – nannies/au pairs (26), parents (28), and children (19) – have been interviewed. The children’s narratives contest conceptualizations of care done by both parents and nannies/au pairs, about the possibility of dividing care into manageable blocks of time, and ‘menial’ (labour) and ‘spiritual’ (emotional, qualitative) tasks (Roberts 1997), pointing instead towards everyday care as consisting of emotional doings. Through the children’s narrating, it becomes obvious that being in a care situation with a nanny/au pair requires that reciprocal sentient activities (Mason, 1996) are carried out, if the situation is to be considered ‘good’. The paper argues for the necessity of including children’s perspectives in researching families and parenting culture in general, and care in particular, as these have the potential of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions.