Brave new brains: sociology, family and the politics of knowledge

Gillies, V., Edwards, R. and Horsley, N. 2016. Brave new brains: sociology, family and the politics of knowledge. Sociological Review. 64 (2), p. 219–237. doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12374

TitleBrave new brains: sociology, family and the politics of knowledge
AuthorsGillies, V., Edwards, R. and Horsley, N.
Abstract

This article critically explores sociological arguments for greater biosocial synthesis, centring contemporary developments in public policy to demonstrate how such a reframing of humanity tends to reinforce existing political orders and socially patterned normativities. The case for further amalgamation of the social and life sciences is examined to suggest that production of somatic markers of truth from relational encounters largely relies upon an anaemic and politically contained version of the social as acquired in early childhood. More specifically, the gendered, classed and culturally specific practice of parenting children has come to occupy a new significance in accounts of social brains and environmentally reactive genomes. This is highlighted through a discussion of ‘early intervention’ as a heavily biologised policy rationale framing opportunities for biosocial collaboration. It is argued that late capitalist objectives of personal investment and optimisation are driving this assimilation of the social and life sciences, pursuing an agenda that traces and re-scores longstanding social divisions in the name of progress.

KeywordsFamily, parenting, neuroscience, epigenetics, sociology
JournalSociological Review
Journal citation64 (2), p. 219–237
ISSN1467-954X
Year2016
PublisherWiley
Accepted author manuscriptBrave New Brains for upload.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12374
Publication dates
Published16 May 2016
Published online25 Apr 2016

Related outputs

(M)othering and the politics of early intervention
Gillies, V. and Edwards, R. 2020. (M)othering and the politics of early intervention. in: Portier-Le Cocq, F. (ed.) Motherhood in Contemporary International Perspective: Continuity and Change Abingdon Routledge. pp. 18-32

(M)othering and the politics of early intervention: biologisation and the reproduction of gendered, classed and raced inequalities
Gillies, V. and Edwards, R. 2019. (M)othering and the politics of early intervention: biologisation and the reproduction of gendered, classed and raced inequalities. Revue des politiques sociales et familiales.

Parallels and ruptures in the neoliberal intensive parenting regime
Gillies, V. 2019. Parallels and ruptures in the neoliberal intensive parenting regime. Families, Relationships and Societies.

All the ACEs: A Chaotic Concept for Family Policy and Decision-Making?
Gillies, V., White, S. and Edwards, R. 2019. All the ACEs: A Chaotic Concept for Family Policy and Decision-Making? Social Policy and Society. 18 (3), pp. 457-466. doi:10.1017/S147474641900006X

Troubling Children’s Families: Who’s Troubled and Why? Approaches to Inter-Cultural Dialogue
Ribbens McCarthy, J and Gillies, V. 2018. Troubling Children’s Families: Who’s Troubled and Why? Approaches to Inter-Cultural Dialogue. Sociological Research Online. 23 (1), pp. 219-244. doi:10.1177/1360780417746871

Challenging the politics of early intervention: who's 'saving' children and why
Gillies, V., Edwards, R. and Horsley, N. 2017. Challenging the politics of early intervention: who's 'saving' children and why. Bristol Policy Press.

'What about the children?' Re-engineering citizens of the future
Gillies, V. 2017. 'What about the children?' Re-engineering citizens of the future . in: Pykett, J., Jones, R. and Whitehead, M. (ed.) Psychological Governance and Public Policy Abingdon Routledge.

Pushed to the Edge: Inclusion and Behaviour Support in Schools
Gillies, V. 2016. Pushed to the Edge: Inclusion and Behaviour Support in Schools. Bristol Policy Press.

Early intervention and evidence-based policy and practice: framing and taming
Edwards, R., Gillies, V. and Horsley, N. 2015. Early intervention and evidence-based policy and practice: framing and taming. Social Policy and Society. 15 (1), pp. 1-10. doi:10.1017/S1474746415000081

Brain science and early years policy: Hopeful ethos or ‘cruel optimism’?
Edwards, R., Gillies, V. and Horsley, N. 2015. Brain science and early years policy: Hopeful ethos or ‘cruel optimism’? Critical Social Policy. 35 (2), pp. 167-187. doi:10.1177/0261018315574020

Troubling families: parenting and the politics of early intervention
Gillies, V. 2014. Troubling families: parenting and the politics of early intervention. in: Wagg, S. and Pilcher, J. (ed.) Thatcher’s Grandchildren Politics and Childhood in the Twenty-First Century London Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 204-224

Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Experiences
Gillies, V. 2007. Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Experiences. London Routledge.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9ywy0/brave-new-brains-sociology-family-and-the-politics-of-knowledge


Share this
Tweet
Email