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Director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent

I am a Reader of Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

I have written numerous articles on health-related issues, including abortion, reproductive technologies, infant feeding, post-natal depression and men’s health. I am the author of Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health: Medicalising Reproduction in the US and Britain (Aldine Transaction 2003) and my articles have appeared in journals including Sociology of Health and Illness, Health, Risk and Society and Reproductive Health Matters.

I am the Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, based in SSPSSR. I’m also the Co-ordinator of the Pro-Choice Forum, Director of the Institute of Ideas and I frequently discuss my research in the media, read more here or see my activity tab.

In 2007, I gave evidence to the parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on women's need for abortion after the first trimester.

My research and teaching draws on constructionist theories of social problems and sociological concepts such as “risk consciousness” and “medicalisation” to analyse the evolution of family policy and health policy.
My longest standing research area is abortion policy and service provision and, more recently, I have developed research projects about parenting. My work explores why everyday issues, for example, how mothers feed their babies, turn into major preoccupations for policy makers and become heated topics of wider public debate.

I joined SSPSSR as a member of staff in 2004, having researched my PhD thesis in the late 1990s as a student in the Centre for Women’s Studies in the school. From 2000 to 2004, I was a lecturer at Southampton University and then a research fellow there working on a study about teenage pregnancy and abortion.


  • –present
    Director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent