Posts Tagged ‘subjectivity’

Children having children? Religion, psychology and the birth of the teenage pregnancy problem

April 5, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

In recent years the phrase ‘children having children’ has been used by politicians, academics, policy focussed NGO’s and Children’s charities to describe the worrying trend in the UK of rising teenage parenthood. This expression is not exclusively British and has been a recurring theme in the public discussion of ‘teenage pregnancy’ in the USA. Five decades after London County Council officers began separating ‘pregnant children’ from older women who conceived out of wedlock, governmental concern with ‘children having children’ persists.  This article explores government work with ‘unwed mothers’ and identifies the shifts associated with the ascent of governmental concern with ‘teenage motherhood’. There is much debate regarding young people’s bodily and mental ‘maturity’ in relation to parenthood. Much consideration fails to acknowledge the historical and cultural contingency of contemporary western notions of ‘teenage’. This article suggests as long as contemporary scientific claims regarding young people’s maturity go unchallenged, the ‘problem’ of teenage parenthood will persist.

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