My research focuses on generations, education, and parenting culture. In my recent book The Corona Generation, written with my teenage daughter during the spring and summer of 2020, I explore the symbolic significance of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting ‘lockdown’ policy for the generational consciousness of those coming of age in this crisis, and for relations between adults and children. My 2019 book, Stop Mugging Grandma, is a critique of the cultural and policy trend of ‘Boomer blaming’, which I argue misrepresents economic and social conflicts as conflicts between the generations.
These books, and associated journalism and talks, build on my doctoral research into the construction of the Baby Boomer generation as a social problem. Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict (2015) develops Mannheim’s approach to the sociology of knowledge to explore how the Baby Boomer generation is defined and discussed in policy and media discourse, and why the Boomers appear to have become scapegoats for a range of problems in the present day. The Sociology of Generations: New directions and challenges (2016) extends this analysis to explore contemporary debates about education, parenting, social policy, and intimate life.
I am co-convenor of the interdisciplinary Generations Network, which seeks to engage academics and others working with the concept of generation in discussion about the meaning of this concept and how it can better be used in policy-making and media debates. Generational Encounters with Higher Education (2020) is based on a recent research project, conducted with Sarah Cant and Anwesa Chatterjee, examining how developments in Higher Education have changed the relationship between academics and students, and the meaning of the ‘University experience’. I am co-author (with Ellie Lee, Charlotte Faircloth and Jan Macvarish) of Parenting Culture Studies (2014); and (with Frank Furedi) of Licensed to Hug (2010, 2nd edition).