Book Launch & Wine Reception

Wednesday 18th January 2017

Parenting and the State in Britain and Europe, c. 1870-1950

Raising the Nation

Editors: Barron, Hester, Siebrecht, Claudia (Eds.)

About this book

This innovative collection draws on original research to explore the dynamic interactions between parents, governments and their representatives across a range of European contexts; from democratic Britain and Finland, to Stalinist Russia and Fascist Italy. The authors pay close attention to the various relationships and dynamics between parents and the state, showing that the different parties were defined not solely by coercion or manipulation, but also by collaboration and negotiation. Parents were not passive recipients of government direction: rituals and cultures of parenting could both affirm and undermine state politics. Readers will find this collection crucial to understanding family life and the role of the state during a period when both underwent significant change.

About the authors


Hester Barron is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Sussex, and is especially interested in the themes of identity, community, childhood, parenting and schooling. Her previous publications include The 1926 Miners’ Lockout: Meanings of Community in the Durham Coalfield (2009).



Claudia Siebrecht is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Sussex, with interests in  the cultural history of war and violence in 20th century Germany and Europe. Her previous work includes The Aesthetics of Loss: German Women’s Art of the First World War (2013).



1 Introduction: Raising the Nation: Hester Barron and Claudia Siebrecht

2 Parenthood, Citizenship and the State in England, c.1870-1914: Sian Pooley

3 The ‘Breastfeeding Crisis’: Parenting, Welfare Policies, and Ideology in Imperial Germany, 1871–1914: Katja Haustein 

4 Parenting, Infanticide and the State in England and Wales, 1870–1950: Daniel J.R. Grey 

5 Parenting, Poverty and the NSPCC in Ireland, 1889–1939: Sarah-Anne Buckley

6 ‘I Looked After the State, but the State is Not Looking After Me’: Parenting and the Population Crisis in First World War Germany: Claudia Siebrecht 

7 Parents, Teachers and Children’s Well-being in London, 1918–1939: Hester Barron 

8 Notions of Parenting and the Home in the Institutional Care of Delinquent Girls in Finland, 1920s–1940s: Kaisa Vehkalahti 

9 Parents, Children and the Fascist State: The Production and Reception of Children’s Magazines in 1930s Italy: Kate Ferris 

10 ‘Knowing how to be a Mother’: Parenting, Emotion and Evacuation Propaganda during the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939: Suan Sheridan Breakwell 

11 In loco parentis: Junior Cadet Schools in the Soviet Union during the Second World War: Olga Kucherenko 

12 Motherhood and the Yugoslav Communist State in the Revolutionary Era, 1943–1953: Jelena Batinic



“It is exciting to read such a path-breaking collection, taking in a crucial period of modern European history in which subjects became citizens. The authors assess the ways in which parents negotiated with health experts, welfare workers, courts, teachers and others, who were increasingly focused on the future potential and promise of children, and examine the ways in which co-operation began to edge out conflict in parents’ dealings with the state. Full of eye-catching material, the essays range widely across modern Europe and bring a level of analysis to bear which sets a new bench-mark.” (Nicholas Stargardt, Professor of Modern European History, Magdalen College, Oxford)

“The late nineteenth century launched an unprecedented interest in children and childhood on the part of nation states in Europe. The impressive contributions to this collection focus on the interaction between governments and parents that this provoked. Based on original research and pursued in a variety of political contexts, the essays will be useful to scholars in a range of disciplines, including history, sociology and geography.” (Colin Heywood, Emeritus Professor of Modern French History, University of Nottingham)