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Education & Language | The Claims of Parenting

The Claims of Parenting

Reasons, Responsibility and Society

Ramaekers, Stefan, Suissa, Judith

2012, XVIII, 158 p.

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  • Addresses a topical issue that is high on the agenda of policy makers, educationalists and academics
  • First sustained philosophical account that explicitly addresses the experience of being a parent
  • Develops a substantial positive account of childrearing and the parent-child relationship alongside a critique of contemporary discourses

Many sociological, historical and cultural stories can be and have already been told about why it is that parents in post-industrial, western societies face an often overwhelming array of advice on how to bring up their children. At the same time, there have been several philosophical treatments of the legal, moral and political issues surrounding issues of procreation, the rights of children and the duties of parents, as well as some philosophical accounts of the shifts in our underlying conceptualization of childhood and adult-child relationships. While this book partly builds on the insights of this literature, it is significantly different in that it offers a philosophically-informed discussion of the actual practical experience of being a parent, with its deliberations, judgements and dilemmas. In probing the ethical and conceptual questions suggested by the  parent-child relationship, this unique volume demonstrates the irreducible philosophical richness of this relationship and thus provides an important counter-balance to the overly empirical and largely psychological focus of a great deal of “parenting” literature. Unlike other analytic work on the parent-child relationship and the educational role of parents, this work draws on first-person accounts of the day-to-day experience of being a parent in order to explore the ethical and epistemological aspects of this experience. In so doing it exposes the limitations of some of the languages within which contemporary “parenting” is conceptualized and discussed, and opens up a space for thinking about childrearing and the parent-child relationship beyond and other than in terms of the languages which dominate the ways in which we generally think about it today.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » adult-child - childhood - children - duties of parents - educational role - family life - parenting - parents - philosophy - psychology - relationship - responsibility - rights of children - rights of parents

Related subjects » Education & Language - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Psychology

Table of contents 

Acknowledgements.- Introduction.- 1. The languages of psychology and the science of parenting.- 2. The priority of the particular and the first person.- 3. The intuitive, caring mother.- 4. Good enough parenting?- 5. Rights, needs and duties.- 6. Existential anxiety, responsibility and the political aspects of the family.- References.- Index.

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