The SPA provided funding to two postgraduate students to develop three seminars relating to the UK government’s Troubled Families Programme in the lead up to the 2015 UK General Election. These seminars were held at Durham University, Lancaster University and the LSE and were organised by Stephen Crossley, a PhD candidate at Durham University and Michael Lambert, a PhD candidate at Lancaster University.
In the aftermath of the English riots in 2011, David Cameron announced that one only had to ‘join the dot’s to work out that parenting failures were a primary cause of many young people being involved in the disturbances. He went on to say that if the ‘broken society’ was to be mended, family and parenting was the place to start, making clear his ambition to ‘turn around’ the lives of the 120,000 most ‘troubled families’ in the UK – ‘the ones that everyone in their neighbourhood knows and often avoids’. Four months later, in December 2011, the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) was launched, tasked with realising the Prime Minister’s ambition.
The seminars explored: the history of the concept of ‘troubled families’, including continuities and changes with previous constructions of the ‘underclass’ thesis; the implications for practitioners working with ‘troubled families’; and different sociological and theoretical perspectives that can be used to understand the construction of ‘troubled families’.
Presentations from the seminars are here:
- Bond-Taylor – Tracing an Ethic of Care
- Lambert – Bridge over troubled water
- Smith – Troubled, Troublesome or Troubling
- Wenham – Young people and the Troubled Families Programme
- Crossley – Class, condescension and cleanliness in the ‘troubled families’ narrative
- MacDonald – The troubles of-with Troubled Families
- Sayer – The power of framing- troubled families or dysfunctional economy
- Tyler – The political crafting of troubled families
- Wallace – Dealing with the deficits- landscapes of correction in neoliberal Britain
- Dean – The Administrative State and the Symbolic (Re)construction of the Troubled Family
- Gillies, Edwards & Horsley – Troubled Families – Lessons from an Historical Comparative Analysis
- Macnicol – Reconstructing the underclass
- Welshman – Troubles and the Family – Changes and Continuities 1943-2015
Photograph courtesy of Number 10