The effect of 'risk-thinking' on the contemporary construction of teenage motherhood

Macvarish, Jan (2010) The effect of 'risk-thinking' on the contemporary construction of teenage motherhood. Health, Risk & Society, 12 (4). pp. 313-322. ISSN 1369-8575. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


In Britain over the past 12 years, despite the normalising of sex and reproduction outside marriage and contrary to the evidence that there are fewer teenage parents than in the past, teenage parenthood has become amplified as a social problem. The existence of such a paradox suggests that this problematisation has captured a number of significant political and social dynamics and anxieties, in particular, the co-existence of widespread concern with social disorder and moral decline with the recognition that past forms of social and moral ordering have an alienating rather than a cohering effect. This paper explores: how the problem of teenage pregnancy has been both amplified and redefined; the role of public health discourse in de-moralising the problem; expanding notions of harm to the child; the construction of the teenage mother as lacking in rational and moral agency; and the construction of her and her child as a social threat. Through an engagement with critiques of teenage pregnancy policy, risk theory and recent developments within the study of 'parenting culture', this paper seeks to explain why the 'teenage mother' has such symbolic power despite an apparent de-moralisation of sex.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: parenting; public health; risk; risk perception; uncertainty; teenage motherhood
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA788 Sexual health
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Paula Loader
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2010 15:45
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2014 10:48
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):