Philosophy and Theory in Educational Research: Writing in the Margin
This is an extract from our book The Claims of Parenting: Reasons, Responsibility and Society in which our main concern is to show how the parent-child relationship has been claimed by certain languages and forms of reasoning, to the extent that it has become difficult to find other ways of talking about it and exploring its significance, at both an individual and a societal level. The idea of writing the book emerged from our sense that dominant accounts of “good parenting” in both policy discourse and popular literature for parents were raising significant conceptual and ethical questions that, as philosophers, we should have something to say about. Yet at the same time, we felt a dissatisfaction with many discussions of families, parents and children in philosophy of education, moral philosophy and political philosophy, where parent-child relationships seemed to be framed as a sub-category within a broader moral or political theory rather than seen as a subject for philosophical exploration in its own right. Our central premise is that childrearing and the parent-child relationship are ethical all the way down. Though this may seem like a fairly obvious thing to say since, surely, there is nothing new in asserting the ethical significance of raising children, articulating what exactly this means involves putting the experience of being a parent in contemporary conditions at the centre of our philosophical enquiry, while at the same time exposing the limitations of some of the languages within which contemporary “parenting” is conceptualized and discussed.