I am Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, an Associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, and a writer and commentator on generational tensions and interaction.
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. This work led me to join the editorial board of Collateral Global, a charity dedicated to cultivating a better understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 responses.
My 2019 book Stop Mugging Grandma is a critique of the ways in which the current ‘generation wars’ misrepresent economic and social conflicts as conflicts between the generations. Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict (2015) develops Mannheim’s approach to the sociology of knowledge to explore how the Boomer generation is defined and discussed in policy and media discourse, and why it has become a scapegoat 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).