Parenting Identities and Practices

The Parenting Identities and Practices project involved secondary narrative analysis of two ESRC funded datasets concerned with migration, ethnicity, identity and parenting:

Transforming Experiences is a psychosocial study of adults looking back on their 'non-normative' childhoods, the parenting they received from parents who were mostly migrants and its impact on their own parenting and habitual family practices.

Fathering over the Generations is a sociological study of fathers across three family generations including two groups of migrants, together with UK origin white fathers.

These studies both used narrative methods to study how family practices over the life course and over long time spans are narrated.

The focus on parenting in these projects enabled us to look at temporality in parenting and also how practices are disrupted and made visible by migration and the experience of constituting or reconstituting families in the UK as a new country. Investigating taken for granted and normative notions of parenting allowed us to consider how apparently personal family practices are embedded in culture and history and the extent to which family stories serve to maintain particular family myths and idealised notions of family life.

The study examined parenting with reference to different types of temporal data, including large scale datasets, such as the Millennium Cohort Study. Working with these data allowed us to consider the ways in which cohort and narrative methodologies can complement each other.

The PhD studentship linked with the project investigated online narratives of mothering identities and practices.


Brannen, J, Elliott, H and Phoenic, A. (submitted 2015), Narratives of success among Irish and African Caribbean migrants.

Elliott, H; Parsons S., Brannen J., Elliott J., Phoenix A. (submitted 2015), Narratives of fathering young children:  qualitative and quantitative analyses.