The Family, Parenting Culture and Parenting Policy - SOCI8940

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Ellie Lee checkmark-circle


The module will explore the following indicative topics:
• Sociological analysis of the term 'parenting'
• The social history of debates about 'the family' and the sociology of privacy
• The changing meaning of childhood, motherhood and fatherhood
• The meaning of the term ‘intensive parenthood’ and its relation to expertise and risk culture
• The sociology of identity, as applied in studies of the experience of parenting
• The relationship of policies linking family life to broader social policy
• Critiques of state intervention in family life and of particular contemporary parenting policies


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 23
Private study hours: 177
Total study hours: 200


MA in Sociology

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - essay (5,000 words) - 100%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

Lee, E. 2014. 'Introduction'. In E. Lee, J. Bristow, C.Faircloth and J.Macvarish, Parenting Culture Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave

Gillies, V. 2011. From Function to Competence: engaging with the new politics of the family. Sociological Research Online 16(4)11

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate familiarity with sociological accounts of the term 'parenting', be able to situate 'parenting' as a social problem in a wider
historical content by acquiring understanding of the sociology of 'the family', and be able to identify and understand the links between
sociological theories of risk society, public/private, identity formation, and 'parenting'.
8.2 Identify and critically analyse the ideologies and values that underpin contemporary concerns about parenting and related policy
developments using sociological insights.
8.3 Discuss in written form sociological accounts of the family, parenting culture and parenting policy and communicate the nuances and
complexities of these accounts.
8.4 Demonstrate an ability to assess the validity of explanations given for the problem of 'parenting' and present sociologically reasoned

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Present arguments in oral and written form using research and empirical data, at a level expected of a student undertaking postgraduate
9.2 Analyse and synthesise research evidence through application of sociological theory to develop understandings of social problems and
policy responses.
9.3 Conduct research, by using library e-journal and other on-line resources at a level appropriate for postgraduate study.
9.4. Organise information in a clear and coherent manner, through essay writing, and discussion at a level appropriate for postgraduate study.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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