Doing good parenthood as we-ness

Allan Westerling, Anna Sparrman

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This paper reflects on how good parenthood is done through ‘we-ness’. We draw on empirical work published by Danish and Swedish researchers to argue that we-ness constitutes an ideal in contemporary family life. In our recent edited volume Doing good parenthood, we argue that the term parenthood offers a different way of thinking about children, parents and parenting (Sparrman et al, 2017). ‘Doing Parenthood’ gives attention to the ways in which actors and institutions collaborate and negotiate how children and childhood do family life. We see a reciprocity between the concepts childhood and parenthood as changes in notions of children and childhood change how we value parents and parenthood, and vice versa. In a Scandinavian context, ideals of equality run through the institutional fibers of the welfare state. It is, for example, a celebrated feature of many policy measures related to childhood and family life. With this paper, we explore and discuss the concepts of we-ness, childhood and parenthood further, foremost by analyzing how ideals of equality are translated into the everyday practices of doing we-ness and family life. How and by whom is we-ness established and are there intensive and light versions of we-ness? How can we understand the relation between we-ness and goodness in parenthood?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018
EventParenting culture, childhood, and adult-child relations in the contemporary age - University College London (UCL), London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 May 201823 May 2018


SymposiumParenting culture, childhood, and adult-child relations in the contemporary age
LocationUniversity College London (UCL)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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