December 8, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Sally McNamee, Emeritus Professor of Childhood and Social Institutions (CSI), and Dr. Sam Frankel, Associate Professor of Childhood and Social Institutions, have collaborated on the editing of a new book: Bringing Children Back into the Family.

The book reflects on the multi-dimensional nature of children’s relationships within the home. It explores the extent to which these experiences shape children’s meaning-making and how this influences how they position themselves in relation to adults. With a focus on relationality and connectedness, Bringing Children Back into the Family reflects on the duality of structure and agency, as it examines this web of interactions and their impact on children’s experiences of the home.

For Dr. McNamee, the project would be her last as a full-time member of the King’s faculty, as she retired in 2020. “It is pleasing to have my final publication on a subject that I have been passionate about for all my academic career. I am pleased to have had the support of Sam while working on this project.  Due to my workload as Department Chair, Co-ordinator for CSI, and my teaching load, Sam really did the bulk of the work in corresponding with contributors and the publishers,” says Dr. McNamee.

Bringing Children Back into the Family draws on a discussion Dr. McNamee had begun in an earlier publication with Dr. Julie Seymour. The pair proposed that “the time was ripe for theoretically reuniting childhood studies and family studies,” explains Dr. McNamee. “We had a real ambition to encourage more discussion about children and their place in the family,” adds Dr. Frankel.

Drs. McNamee and Frankel widely circulated a call for papers, inviting contributions from others around the world for chapters on the topic of children and families and outlining some broad theoretical approaches the two editors were interested in. “We received many more than we had hoped for. The final chapters draw on a truly global set of contributions,” says Dr. McNamee. The book contains a total of 14 chapters, including three shorter “case studies.” 

Chapter contributions reflect on work carried out in China, Chile, Nigeria, Israel and Senegal, for example, as well as contributions from Canada, the USA, and the United Kingdom. 

“We were also pleased to include a contribution from King’s CSI graduate, Mackenzie Mountford ’19, which reflects on and develops some of her research interests during her undergraduate work.

“It was fantastic to be at the centre of a process that sees ideas being shared from academics in different countries, engaged in some really interesting research,” says Dr. Frankel.  “The final submissions from chapter authors were of high quality generally needing little editing,” says Dr. McNamee.

Dr. Frankel is working with Emerald, the book’s publisher, on formats that would allow Equipping Kids to take ideas from this work and present them to parents and carers in a meaningful and relevant way. EquippingKids, a project developed by Dr. Frankel, is involved in research and development as part of wider ambitions to share knowledge being explored within childhood studies so that it has a positive impact on children's everyday lives.

Bringing Children Back into the Family, the 27th volume from Emerald’s Sociological Studies of Children and Youth series, is available in hardback at and also as a Kindle eBook at

To learn more about CSI at King’, please visit