Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching




Ruth’s research interests lie primarily in law and political economy, with particular interests in mental health, cultural studies/literature, and parenting culture.
Her publications cover a wide range of topics from post-separation parenting to law and literature, social reproduction and maternal mental health, but she is now focusing primarily on the governance and measurement of health and illness in neoliberalism, particularly mental health. She is also trying to finish a monograph on the phenomenon of ‘elite’ mothering in neoliberal economies.

Ruth lectures in mental health law, family law, and law and literature, film and culture


BA Classics (Oxford), Common Professional Examination and Legal Practice Course (College of Law), MA Gender, Culture, Politics (Birkbeck), PhD (Birkbeck)

Ruth's research areas are: Medical Ethics and Law, Mental Health Law, Family Law, Law, Literature and Popular Culture and Law and Psychoanalysis.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Haux, T., McKay, S. and Cain, R. (2017). Shared Care After Separation in the United Kingdom: Limited Data, Limited Practice? Family Court Review [Online] 55:572-585. Available at:
Cain, R. (2016). Responsibilising recovery: lone and low paid parents, Universal Credit and the gendered contradictions of UK welfare reform. British Politics [Online] 11:488-507. Available at:
Cain, R. (2016). Post-truth and the 'metropolitan elite' feminist: lessons from Brexit. feminists@law [Online]. Available at:
Cain, R. (2013). The Buried Madonna: Matricide and Maternal Power in the Novels of Michele Roberts. Women's Studies [Online] 42:408-438. Available at:
Cain, R. (2013). 'This growing genetic disaster': obesogenic mothers, the obesity 'epidemic' and the persistence of eugenics. Studies in the Maternal [Online] 5. Available at:
Cain, R. (2011). 'Imperfectly Incarnate': Father Absence, Law and Lies in Brett Easton Ellis and John Burnside'. Journal of Law, Culture, and Humanities 8:1-25.
Cain, R. (2009). 'A View You Won't Get Anywhere Else'? Depressed Mothers, Public Regulation and 'Private' Narrative. Feminist Legal Studies 17:123-143.
Cain, R. (2007). 'Mr. Xerox', The Domestic Terrorist, and the Victim-Citizen: Masculine and National Anxiety in Fight Club and Anti-Terror Law'. Law and Literature 19:345-368.
Cain, R. (2007). 'Confessions of the New Capitalist Mother: Twenty First Century Writing on Motherhood as Trauma'. Women: A Cultural Review 18.
Book section
Cain, R. (2017). How to say hello to the sea: Literary Perspectives on Medico-Legal Narratives of Maternal Filicide. in: Rye, G. et al. eds. Motherhood in Literature and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe. Routledge. Available at:
Cain, R. (2016). 'Just what kind of mother are you?' : neoliberal guilt and privatised maternal responsibility in twenty first century domestic crime fiction. in: Garrett, R., Jensen, T. and Voela, A. eds. We need to talk about family: Essays on the family, (popular) culture and neoliberalism. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars, pp. 289-313.
Peel, E. and Cain, R. (2012). 'Silent' Miscarriage and Deafening Heteronormativity: A British Experiential and Critical Feminist Account. in: Understanding reproductive loss: perspectives on life, death and fertility. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 79-92.
Cain, R. (2011). The Court of Motherhood: Affect, Alienation and Redefinitions of Responsible Parenting. in: Bridgman, J., Keating, H. and Lind, C. eds. Regulating Family Responsiblities. Ashgate, pp. 67-90.
Conference or workshop item
Cain, R. (2014). 'This learned set of limits and blames': Law, Gender and John Burnside's Unauthorised Version. in: John Burnside Symposium.
Cain, R. (2013). Single mothers and welfare reform in post-austerity Britain: from respectability to responsibility. in: "FAMILY, WEALTH AND GENDER: ISSUES AND FUTURE RESEARCH?' Workshop – a joint Kent Law School, Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality and Kent Business School Work-in-progress Workshop.
Cain, R. (2012). 'Veronique Olmi's 'Beside the Sea': Law, Psychiatry and the Moral Dilemmas of Filicide. in: Motherhood in post-1968 European Literature Network Workshop 1: Motherhood: Theories, Methods and Narratives.
Cain, R. (2010). 'Shame was Not a Part of Her Life': Child Abduction and the Maternal Trial By Media.'. in: Social Science History Association Conference,.
Cain, R. and Thomson, M. (2009). 'The Big Suck: Masculinity, War, and Contemporary Objection.'. in: 'Conscientious Objection in Public Life'.
Cain, R. (2008). 'A View You Won't Get Anywhere Else'? Challenging Regulatory Narratives of Maternal Depression'. in: Governance and Regulation Workshop,.
Cain, R. and Peel, E. (2008). Silent Miscarriage and Deafening heteronormativity: An Experiential and critical feminist account. in: Experiencing Reproductive Loss: Working together to change practice.
Cain, R. (2008). 'Regulating the Subject of Trauma: The Problem of 'Global' Female Vulnerability to Trafficking'. in: Critical Legal Conference.
Cain, R. and Peel, E. (2008). 'Silent Miscarriage and Deafening Heteronormativity: An Experiential Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss.'. in: 'Experiencing Reproductive Loss: Working Together to Change Practice' Workshop,.
Cain, R. (2006). Fight Clubs and Domestic Terrorists: Masculine and National Anxiety in Anti-Terror Law and Culture'. in: 'There is No Politics Without Fantasy: Gender, Sexuality and Cultural Studies in Law'.
Cain, R. (2006). 'Autogenesis and the Absent Mother: Cultural and Legal Fantasies of Maternal Space and Rational Reproduction'. in: 'Forensic Futures: Interrogating the Posthuman Subject', Anthropology of Law Workshop.
Cain, R. (2006). 'Mr. Xerox', The Domestic Terrorist, and the Victim-Citizen: Masculine and National Anxiety in Fight Club and Anti- Terror Law'. in: The New Exceptionalism: Law and Literature after 9/11' Symposium.
Cain, R. (2005). 'Consuming Love: The Abject Mother and the 'Global Woman' in Literature and Law'. in: 'Theorising Intersectionality', AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality conference.
Internet publication
Cain, R. (2013). The Philpott Trial, Welfare Reform and the Facialisation of Poverty [Website]. Available at:
McCloskey, N. (2012). Mother or Monster? Veronique Olmi's 'Beside the Sea': An interview with Ruth Cain [Publishers' blog]. Available at:
Cain, R. (2011). The Fetus Fetish and the Erosion of Reproductive Rights in the USA [Website]. Available at:
Cain, R. (2013). Fatemeh Ebtehaj, Jonathan Herring, Martin H Johnson and Martin Richards (eds): Birth Rites and Rights. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 22:101-104. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 30 [See all in KAR]
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Teaching and Supervision


Ruth is responsible for teaching the following at undergraduate and postgraduate level:

  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Medical Law and Ethics 
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Last Updated: 23/04/2018