Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Emotional Interest Representation and the Politics of Risk in Child Protection

Warner, Joanne (2018) Emotional Interest Representation and the Politics of Risk in Child Protection. Politics and Governance, 6 (4). E-ISSN 2183-2463. (doi:10.17645/pag.v6i4.1521) (KAR id:69567)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of 1521 - Proofreading (Final).pdf]
Request a format suitable for use with assistive technology e.g. a screenreader
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of 1521 - Final Manuscript (3).pdf]
Official URL:


This article explores the emotional dimensions of political representation by British Members of Parliament in relation to child protection. The public speech acts and first-hand accounts of three MPs are drawn upon as examples. These highlight different forms of emotional interest representation that arise following the death of a local child from severe abuse or neglect and in response to anxieties in the community about risk. Firstly, I examine the role of the MP in seeking to embody their constituency in the public expression of collective emotional responses and to defend it from feelings of guilt and shame. Personal feelings of guilt and a consciousness of the politician’s role in attributing blame are then considered. Thirdly, I explore the role of the MP as trusted envoy for anxieties about risk to individual children within their constituencies. The article draws on Berezin’s concept of the secure state and Hochschild’s notion of politicians as feeling legislators, and is based on qualitative documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with MPs. It is argued that the emotional processes outlined are central to understanding the problematic relationship between politics and state social work that fuels the cycle of crisis and reform in children's services in the UK.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.17645/pag.v6i4.1521
Uncontrolled keywords: Representation; emotion; risk; Members of Parliament (MPs); child protection; social work
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767.9 Children. Child developement
J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Jo Warner
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 09:33 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 10:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.