Sarah Stoller

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Department:
History
Term:
AY 17-18


From the 1970s, the concept of ‘working parenthood’ emerged in Anglo-America to describe a set of perceived socio-cultural transformations resulting in the new middle-class norm of the dual-income household. Over the subsequent decades, ‘working parents’ became an object of social-scientific research, charity, government, and corporate policy. At the same time, ‘working parenthood’ became a category of self-actualization and improvement. My project explores the politics that shaped the invention of ‘working parents’ in Britain by the the activists, charitable and governmental organizations, corporations, and newspapers, magazines, and self-help guides that began to speak of mothers and fathers in those terms. I also consider the extent to which the lived experiences of British parents shifted as ideas about parenthood and men and women as workers changed. By considering how changes in parenthood were linked to broader contemporary shifts in the cultures of work and home, gender relations and economies of time, I aim to explore the mixed legacies of second-wave feminism in the neoliberal era.