While CPCS associates have diverse research interests, our common view is that child-rearing as a social activity needs to be distinguished from ‘parenting’ and the culture that surrounds it. Through our work, we have sought to show how the role and meaning of parenthood has changed in recent years. Child-rearing has expanded to encompass a growing range of activities that were not previously seen as an obligatory dimension of this task. CPCS associates have identified this emerging trend as exercising a decisive impact on the mothering role and more broadly on child-rearing; parenting culture in this form has a profound impact on the constitution of mothering and fathering identity as well on the relationship amongst parents.
How mothers and fathers manage and perform these identities is one of the themes running through the explorations of colleagues involved with CPCS. The expansion of the child-rearing role has also encouraged the belief that ‘parenting’ is a problematic sphere of social life. Indeed, ‘parenting’ is almost always discussed as a social problem. Many social actors have sought to turn child-rearing into an object of policymaking encouraging the emergence of the activity ‘parenting’. The causes and effects of this policy turn is another central area of our research.