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Parenting Support and the Role of Society in Parental Self-Understanding: Furedi's Paranoid Parenting Revisited


  • Luc Van den Berge

Correspondence: Luc Van den Berge, Catholic University Leuven, Laboratory for Education and Society, Andreas Vesaliusstraat 2, bus 3761B-3000, Leuven, Belgium.



The publication of Frank Furedi's Paranoid Parenting in 2001 was trend-setting in the sense that it addresses parents directly in a way that is intended to be both critical and supportive, by helping parents to look through a sociological lens at their alleged predicament. Furedi's hope is that this will lead to the restoration of parental self-confidence, which he claims to be sorely lacking in contemporary (Western?) society. I argue that such a project would be more likely to succeed if one were to hold a less dim view of the way both parents and other individuals are connected with their own society. By introducing a cultural-hermeneutical perspective on human agency, based on a specific reading of Heidegger and Taylor, I suggest a more constructive way to reconnect parents with the ongoing conversations in their communities and to conceptualise parenting support.

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