Parenting apps and the depoliticisation of the parent
This article considers the implications of parenting apps for the position of the parent in the parent‐child relationship. Key focuses in the critical sociological literature on the ‘parenting culture’ and the increasing digitisation of our daily lives are summarised to show how parenting apps can be seen as an extension of the instrumentalisation, scientisation and psychologisation identified therein. A pedagogical-philosophical register is introduced, however, informed by Stanley Cavell’s account of initiation in forms of life and Klaus Mollenhauer’s account of upbringing, that brings out the political aspect of the figure of the parent as a representative figure situated between child and world. With reference to a selection of apps aimed at the period from pregnancy to three years old, we illustrate how, while sharing similarities with the existing sources of information and advice for parents, parenting apps are distinctive due to the personalisation, visualisation and notion of community they offer. Hence, what appears as a politicisation of parents through a sociological lens is seen as a depoliticisation of parents through a pedagogical-philosophical lens.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: KU Leuven, Belgium 2: Liverpool Hope University, UK
Publication date: March 2020
This article was made available online on November 18, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Parenting apps and the depoliticisation of the parent".
Families, Relationships and Societies (FRS) is a social science journal designed to advance scholarship and debate in the growing field of families and relationships across the life course. It explores family life, relationships and generational issues from interdisciplinary, social science perspectives, whilst maintaining a solid grounding in sociological theory and methods and a strong policy and practice focus.
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