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Resource-Free Parenting: The Not So Curious Absence of Money in Policy Discourses of Good Parenting in the UK and Japan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 October 2013

Esther Dermott
School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol E-mail:
Junko Yamashita
School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol E-mail:


This article examines recent Japanese and UK policy recommendations on parenting practices and highlights the absence of material resources in these discussions. Parenting has gained increased prominence in recent decades. In the realm of policy, there has been an expansive shift; from a narrowly focused concern with detecting neglect and abuse to the wider project of promoting ‘good’ parenting. Focusing on advice offered in relation to education and food, we note that in both Japan and the UK the relationship between money and the ability to perform idealised parenting practices is rarely mentioned. Our comparative analysis also highlights that this silence is handled differently in the two national contexts, and we suggest that this reflects different historical interests in poverty and inequality. In Japan, parents are encouraged to undertake activities that require financial resources, but the question of how poor parents should manage is left largely unanswered: in the UK, the parenting activities given greatest attention are those that do not rely on money, meaning that poverty can be left off the positive parenting agenda.

Themed Section on Comparative Perspectives on Poverty and Inequality: Japan and the United Kingdom
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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