SOC-30030 - Sociology of Parenting and Early Childhood
Coordinator: Emma L Head Room: CBC0.012 Tel: +44 1782 7 33898
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

We live in a society which places increasing emphasis on the long-term significance of good parenting and the importance of positive early childhood experiences. This module enables students to focus on these issues by exploring a developing area of British sociology, parenting culture studies.

The module begins with an introduction to recent analyses about the nature of parenthood over the last 20 years, including ideas about the intensive nature of motherhood, the increasing dominance of scientific ideas around childrearing and the 'paranoid' state of parents. Various aspects of childrearing practices will be explored, including nutrition, sleep and discipline. The module then moves on to consider the roles of 'experts', the media and the state in parenting. In conclusion, the focus moves to a consideration of the nature of parenting and the implications this has for our understanding of adulthood and childhood in contemporary social life.

- To enable students to reflect on the changing nature of parenting culture(s) in British society.
- To enable students to reflect sociologically on childrearing practices and ideals in contemporary society.
- For students to be able to critically assess dominant assumptions made about the construction of adulthood, parenthood and childhood.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Locate, review and evaluate sociological literature on parenting: 1
Assess the relationship between sociological accounts of parenting and childhood: 1
Critically evaluate primary source material of parenting research and construct coherent arguments about parenting culture based on these evaluations: Explore everyday understandings of parenting and childhood and consider how these have been theorised in relevant scholarship: 1

Study hours

20 hours contact - 10 lectures / 10 tutorials
40 hours tutorial preparation
30 hours independent study
60 hours assessment preparation

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Case Study weighted 100%
Case study
A 3000 word case study on an aspect of early childhood or parenting that has been covered on the module. The range of possible topics includes: play, infant feeding, nutrition, consumer culture, the role of the state in family life. Students would also be able to suggest their own topic in consultation with the module leader. In the assessment, students will be asked to consider the following: - critically assess the sociological/social research on this topic (for example, what are the key insights of this research, are there points of debate in this literature, are there gaps in knowledge?) - explore how this topic is represented in relevant media sources - draw on relevant scholarship from parenting studies and childhood studies to explore how key themes from this literature help us to understand the topic of this case study.