Governing as peers: Reluctant experts and competent parents in the Swedish welfare state

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Abstract

In recent years, parenting support has gained traction in the Swedish welfare state in both policy and practice. Parenting is seen as determining child outcomes and are thus in need of knowledge and expertise. Yet, at the same time, parents are conceptualised as experts of their own child. The intriguing paradox between parents being experts while at the same time being in need of parenting support is the topic of this article.
Based on interviews with parenting support actors, we identify that parenting support actors are “reluctant expert”, keen to respect the autonomy of parents and careful not to appear paternalistic. However, according to the parenting support actors interviewed in this study, suppressing the expert role can also be a strategy to attract more parents and to foster the self-realisation of the “competent parent”.
It is argued that the “reluctant expert” and the “competent parent” can only be understood if parenting support practices are viewed as a form of micro-technologies for governing parents within a neoliberal frame, emphasising indirect and horizontal steering of parenthood and families. We propose to conceptualise this as “governing as peers”. Typical for the neoliberal frame is also that both problems and solutions are identified at the individual and family level, rather than the structural level, which infers a responsibilisation of parents.

Detaljer

Författare
Enheter & grupper
Forskningsområden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)

Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
TidskriftLien social et Politiques
StatusAccepted/In press - 2020
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa