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‘Smarten up the Parents’: whose agendas are we serving? governing parents and children through the Smart Population Foundation Initiative in Australia

Millei, Z. and Lee, L. (2007) ‘Smarten up the Parents’: whose agendas are we serving? governing parents and children through the Smart Population Foundation Initiative in Australia. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3 . pp. 208-221.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2007.8.3.208
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    Abstract

    This article critiques the Smart Population Foundation Initiative (SPFI), which was established to ‘bring parenting information and the science of child development to Australian parents and carers’ (Smart Population Foundation, 2006) and to satisfy the need for a credible and easily accessible source of information for parents. The article draws on the notion of modern governance developed by Rose and analyses the Initiative as a deeply political project. It looks at the Initiative from a critical distance created by the context of governmentality. The authors argue that the discourses produced by the Initiative constitute a particular notion of parent as ‘smart’ (lifelong learner, responsible and informed). These discourses govern parents through ‘ethopolitics’ to take up a certain art of parenting as their supposed free choice. Through standardising and sanctioning a particular way of acting as a parent, the SPFI translates governmental objectives into parents’ own values and practices. As a result, the discourse the SPFI constitutes about parenting effectively ‘shuts down’ multiple understandings of being a ‘good’ parent. Hence, parents’ conscious formation of their parenting practices are inhibited and with that, the ethical debates around this contentious issue are silenced.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
    Publisher: Symposium Journals
    Copyright: Symposium Journals
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2842
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