Rebecca Aberton

Doctoral Researcher

Current Status

PhD (full-time): first year.

Research Topic

How do early years practitioners make sense of their work with children and families in the context of policy, multi-agency and professional identity?

Research Summary

Early years services have increasingly been seen by government as an opportunity to offer technical solutions to the social problems of inequality and childhood poverty. Multi-agency working has been a central tenet of policy, perceived as having positive benefits for service users whilst improving efficiency. Children’s Centres are institutions designed specifically to deliver the government’s vision of ‘joined-up’ early years services and thus make for a richly illustrative case.

My research focuses on practitioners within the context of a Children’s Centre situated in the wider sphere of early years services. Its aims are to explore: 

  1. the influence of the dominant discourse within policy documents on practitioners’ constructions of ‘the child’ and ‘the family’; 
  2. how different professional beliefs and understandings are reconciled within a multi-agency setting; 
  3. how practitioners develop, enact and share their own professional identity; and 
  4. whose interests are served.

Research Interests

  • Professional Identity 
  • Social Constructions of Children and Parenting 
  • Neo-liberalism and Social Policy 
  • Critical Discourse Analysis

Research Supervisor

Dr Marion Bowl