Kampen for det sociale renommé: Forældreskab og forebyggelse i et klasseperspekiv

    Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.afhandlingpeer review


    This dissertation examines how different parents do their parenting when their children start school. At that point, a new life begins for parents too, since parental involvement as a natural part of good responsible parenting has today achieved status as common sense. On the basis of considerations of 1) heightened ‘societal concern’ about whether parents are capable of taking responsibility and ensuring the well-being, health and development of their children and 2) an increased focus on individualized preventative interventions, this dissertation examines two empirical contexts involving parents of new pupils: parental cooperation on the well-being of the class and the introductory talks between school nurse and parents. The empirical data was produced through ethnographic fieldwork among parents of new pupils in three different primary schools. I attended the first parents’ meeting after the 2013 summer holidays and followed the activities of the parents until the end of the term in December of the same year. The fieldwork involved varying degrees of participation in different events such as playgroups, birthdays, social events for the families, parent-teacher meetings and introductory talks between nurses and parents of new pupils. A broad and relational (middle) class concept forms the underlying theoretical perspective. Here, Bourdieu’s conceptual apparatus is combined with highly constructivist perspectives from, among others, British cultural theory (including Skeggs, Gillies and Lawler) and poststructuralist governmentality studies (including Rose, Lupton and Hunt). Based on Crawford’s arguments about health as an ideology that has promoted a neoliberal restructuring of society since the 1970s, the dissertation explores how neoliberalism on the one hand marginalizes class as a political and sociological, cultural-theoretical concept, but on the other, reestablishes class via self-technological demands for the accumulation of value/worth, in that class now manifests itself as judgments on the moral value or worth of the individual. In addition, the dissertation is pervaded by a particular interest in the illegitimacy of class and the methodological and ethical implications of this.

    The dissertation raises the following main question:
    What are the class implications of the increased focus on parenting, wellbeing, health and prevention and how does this affect different parents of schoolchildren?

    It is divided into eight main parts:
    The first introductory part presents the empirical field, including the increased concern for parental capabilities and the focus on prevention, which mean that all parents are now subject to a form of assessment as to whether they are at risk of developing problems. Here I also present my cognitive interests and knowledge ambitions, which particularly concern the illegitimacy of the class concept.

    In the second part, I present the field of research and the two empirical contexts. The field of research is constructed through a theoretically informed diagnosis of contemporary society, in which class forms a dual perspective; I examine both the causes of the weak position of class as a political category and as a culturaltheoretical, sociological approach, and also how this development reveals something significant about how class is currently configured. In addition, societal concerns about parental capabilities and the increased focus on prevention are linked to various general trends, collectively called ‘neoliberalism’: the ‘discourse of scarcity’, elite moralistic healthism and the depoliticizing privatization of health. These are self-technologies that, with their logic of capital, establish a particular class-aspiring, value-accumulating subject, which also has to display its value, while class (respectability) becomes a pro-capitalist prerequisite for these self-technologies, which establish normative judgments of the subject’s moral worth. Further, I describe how parents’ efforts to create well-being have become a focus area for the optimization of their children’s learning. I also outline the emergence of the healthcare provider as part of a key pillar of the welfare state, and explain the introductory talks for parents of new pupils and the judgmental gaze of the school nurse in determining whether a family is ‘at risk’.

    The third part provides an account of the various research fields relevant to the dissertation. Here I outline a number of perspectives on parenting and position the dissertation within critical humanistic health studies; this is also where I introduce various perspectives on the moral implications of risk as governance and their class implications.

    In Part Four, I delve more deeply into class; after an outline of existing relevant qualitative class research, I explain Bourdieu’s thinking and further developments of this....
    ForlagRoskilde University
    Antal sider299
    ISBN (Elektronisk)978-87-7349-978-8
    StatusUdgivet - 3 nov. 2017