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Trusted and doubted : Discourses of parenting training in two Swedish official inquiries, 1947 and 2008

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Author list: Viitasara, Eija
Publication year: 2018
Start page: 59
End page: 65
Number of pages: 7
ISSN: 1403-4948

Abstract

Aim: The aim of this study was to analyse discourses of parenting training in official inquires in Sweden that explicitly deal with the bringing up of children and parental education and how the representations of the problems and their solutions affect parental subject positions in the early welfare state and at the onset of the 21st century. Method: We carried out a discourse analysis of two public inquiries of 1947 and 2008, drawing on theories about governmentality and power regimes. Tools from political discourse analysis were used to investigate the objectives of political discourse practices. Results: Both inquiries referred to a context of change and new life demands as a problem. Concerning suggestions for solutions, there were discrepancies in parents’ estimated need of expert knowledge and in descriptions of parental capacity. In a discourse of trust and doubt, the parents in 1947 were positioned as trusted welfare partners and secure raisers of future generations, and in 2008, as doubted adults, feared to be faltering in their child-rearing tasks. Conclusions: The analysis revealed how governmental problem descriptions, reasoning about causes and suggestions of solutions influenced parents’ subject positions in a discourse of trust and doubt, and made way for governmental interventions with universal parenting training in the 21st century.


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