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Seminar 7

Seminar 7: Policing Problem Families Throughout the period 1860 to the present there has been a concern with the failing family. Seen as a threat to society at large these problem families have been investigated, studied and surveyed. However the state has not always been willing to involve itself within the family, and the ways in which it has done so have witnessed great change. We will consider which families have been seen as a problem, why, and what were the consequences.Seminar/Essay Questions?
  1. How has state intervention in the family altered over the period 1860 to the present?
  2. Have failing families always been seen as the result of failure of the mother?
  3. Assess the relationship between poverty and the problem family.
  4. How have the ideas of individual and family responsibility been integrated within state welfare provision over the period 1860 to the present?
Seminar Reading: J. Klein, ‘Irregular Marriages - Unorthodox Working-Class Domestic Life in Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, 1900-1939’ Journal of Family History 30 (2005) 210-229. A. Levene, ‘Family Breakdown and the ‘Welfare Child’ in 19th and 20th Century Britain’ The History of the Family 11 (2006) 67-79. P. Starkey, The Medical Officer of Health, the Social Worker, and the Problem Family, 1943 to 1968: The Case of Family Service Units’ Social History of Medicine 11 (1998) 421-441. J. Welshman, ‘In search of the ‘Problem Family’: Public Health and Social Work in England and Wales 1940–70’ Social History of Medicine 9 (1996) 447-465.

P. M. Garrett, ‘Sinbin’ Solutions: The ‘Pioneer’ Projects for ‘Problem Families’ and the Forgetfulness of Social Policy Research’ Critical Social Policy 27 (2007) 203-229.

Additional Reading: L. Abrams, ‘Lost Childhoods: Recovering Children’s Experiences of Welfare in Modern Scotland’ in A. Fletcher and S. Hussey (eds.), Childhood in Question: Children, Parents and the State (1999) 152-171. A. Andresen, K.T. Elvebakken and W.H. Hubbard (eds.), Public Health and Preventive Medicine 1800–2000 (2004). R.G. Andry, Delinquency and Parental Pathology: A Study in Forensic and Clinical Psychology (1971). G.K. Behlmer, Child Abuse and Moral Reform in England, 1870-1908 (1982). S. D’Cruze, Crimes of Outrage: Sex, Violence and Victorian Working Women (2000). S. D’Cruze (ed.), Everyday Violence in Britain, 1850-1950: Gender and Class (2000). A. J. Hammerton, Cruelty and Companionship: Conflict in Nineteenth Century Married Life (1992). H. Hendrick, Child Welfare: England 1872-1989 (1994). L.A. Jackson, Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England (2000). M. Jackson (ed.), Infanticide: Historical Perspectives on Child Murder and Its Concealment, 1550-2000 (2002). D. Martin, Battered Wives (1983). H. Marland, Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain (2004). L.D. Murdoch, ‘From Barrack Schools to Family Cottages: Creating Domestic Space for Late Victorian Poor Children’ in J. L. and P. Starkey (eds.), Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives (2001) 147-173. D. Owens, ‘Battered Wives: Some Social and Legal Problems’ British Journal of Law and Society 2 (1975) 201-11. L. Peters, Orphan Texts: Victorian Orphans, Culture and Empire (2000). R. Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding (1981). P. Starkey, ‘Mental Incapacity, Ill-health and Poverty: Family Failure in Post-War Britain’ in J. L. and P. Starkey (eds.), Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives (2001) 256-276. J. Stewart, ‘The Most Precious Possession of a Nation is its Children’: The Clyde Committee on Homeless Children in Scotland’ Scottish Economic and Social History 21 (2001) 43-66. J. Lawrence and P. Starkey (eds.), Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives (2001) 101-120. J. White, The
Worst Street in North London: Campbell Bunk, Islington, between the Wars (1986). Women’s Group on Public Welfare, The Neglected Child and His Family (1948). G.K. Behlmer, ‘Deadly Motherhood: Infanticide and Medical Opinion in Mid-Victorian England’ Journal of the History of Medicine 34 (1979) 403-27.