Call for papers: Citizenship and the politics of parenting

Call for Papers for a Panel at the AAA Meetings in Denver, November 18-22, 2015

Intimate Negotiations: Citizenship and the Politics of Parenting

Conveners: Eileen Moyer (University of Amsterdam) and Anouk de Koning (Radboud University)

This panel examines how citizenship is negotiated in the highly intimate, yet deeply political domain of parenting. It thereby ‘makes strange’ the technologies of power that operate in and through this ‘familiar’ domain. By examining parenting as a site for contestation over good citizenship, this panel builds on and extends feminist scholarship on the connections between gender and the nation. Citizenship is used here to refer to membership and participation in civic life. We propose to focus on what good citizenship is seen to entail in the domain of parenting, and how such ideas are negotiated and contested.

Parenting presents a fertile field for the study of the interplay between politics and public debates, institutions and everyday social life. This is particularly true with respect to people who are considered marginal, problematic or ‘at risk’—parents who are migrants, impoverished, or less educated, for example. Parenting touches on political anxieties regarding the reproduction of the nation and the education of “proper” citizens. Parenting is also the object of myriad public health, educational and family services, and parents are compelled to engage in a wide range of encounters on account of their children, from the institutional (clinics, schools) to the informal (playgrounds). Regimes and practices of parenting entail particular classed, gendered, racialized and sexualized norms and may involve medicalization and criminalization. Our focus on parenting enables an examination of the way formal ideas regarding citizenship are translated into a range of policies and are taken up and contested in everyday life. Conversely, it also allows us to explore the political resonances of the intimate and personal domain of parenting.

This panel brings together scholars interested in the intersection of parenting, gender, citizenship, policy and governance. It welcomes contributions that examine the way citizenship is imagined, negotiated and contested in policies, institutional practices and formal and informal encounters related to parenting. How is citizenship negotiated in this intimate, but profoundly political domain? What do such cases tell us about the institutional and everyday translation of public debates regarding good citizenship and the nation? And what do we learn about the normative and exclusionary character of citizenship, and the way it is negotiated and contested?

Paper proposals can be sent to Eileen Moyer ([email protected]) and Anouk de Koning ([email protected]) before March 15, 2015.