Professor Carol Smart
Co-Director, Morgan Centre
Phone: +44 (0) 161 275 0262
A key interest of mine over recent years has been family life and intimacy and the ways in which people conduct their personal lives. This interest resulted in my book Personal Life which is an argument for theorising and understanding close relationships in terms of connectedness and relationality, rather than in terms of individualisation and breakdown. I have carried out research on divorce and/or separation and how this affects couples, children and wider kin; I have also focused on high conflict and how people can become enmeshed in protracted and negative relationships. I completed a project on gay and lesbian civil partnership and commitment ceremonies a few years ago and I am currently writing up a number of book chapters arising from a more recent joint project on Civil Partnership led by Brian Heaphy in the Morgan Centre.
I have also recently started a new project with Dr Petra Nordqvist on donor conception. This is an ESRC funded project entitled Relative Strangers and we have interviewed both heterosexual and lesbian couples as well as grandparents of donor conceived children. Finally, and of equal significance is the work I have shared with colleagues on Realities (led by Jennifer Mason) which was part of the ESRC’s National Centre for Research Methods (link opens in new window) until summer 2011. Specifically I have been involved with the project on 'Critical Associations' which has explored new ways of researching friendships and other significant associations which influence lived experience.
Much of my research has also taken a socio-legal perspective. This reflects my longstanding interest in how law influences our personal lives and also how and why we often turn to law for solutions to personal dilemmas. This has led me recently to consider how law and policy seek to regulate family relationships through the management of family secrets and this is reflected in a number of articles listed below.
My other interests include broad themes on gender and sexuality, the body and the ways in which feminist theory has developed, particularly in the field of law.
Personal Life: New Directions in Sociological Thinking (November 2007) Cambridge: Polity Buy this book on Amazon [new window]
The Changing Experience of Childhood: Families and Divorce, Smart, C, Neale, B and Wade, A (2001) Cambridge: Polity Press pp220 ISBN 0 7456 2400 6. Buy on Amazon [new window].
Family Fragments?, Smart, C and Neale, B (1999) Cambridge: Polity, pp 222. Buy on Amazon [new window].
The ‘New’ Family?, Silva, E and Smart, C (eds) (1999) London: Sage, pp 177. Buy on Amazon [new window].
'Families, Secrets and Memories', (2011) Sociology, 45(4): 1-15. View abstract on Sociology website (link opens in new window)
'Shifting Horizons: Reflections on qualitative methods' Feminist Theory, 2009, 10(3):1-14 - Publishers copyright statement [new window]
'Family Secrets: law and understandings of openness in everyday relationships' Journal of Social Policy, 2009, 38(4):551-567. Publishers copyright statement [new window]
‘“Can I Be Bridesmaid?”: Combining the Personal and Political in Same-Sex Weddings’, Sexualities, 2008, 11(6) 761-776
‘Same Sex Couples and Marriage: Negotiating relational landscapes with families and friends’, The Sociological Review, 2007, 55(4): 687-702 ISSN 0038-0261
‘“It's made a huge difference:" Recognition, Rights and the Personal Significance of Civil Partnership', Shipman, B. and Smart, C (2007) Sociological Research Online, Vol 12, No 1. This article can be ordered online at http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/1/contents.html
‘Children’s Narratives of Post-Divorce Family Life: From individual experience to an ethical disposition’, The Sociological Review, (2006) vol 54(1): 155-170.
‘Textures of Family Life: Further thoughts on change and commitment’, Journal of Social Policy, (2005) vol 34(4): 541-556. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Equal Shares: Rights for Fathers or Recognition for Children’ Critical Social Policy, (2004) vol 24 (4):484-503. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Changing Landscapes of Family Life: Rethinking Divorce’ Social Policy and Society, (2004) vol 3 (4): 401-8. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Silence in Court?: Hearing children in residence and contact disputes’ May, V and Smart, C, Child and Family Law Quarterly, (2004) vol 16(3): 305-16. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Visions in Monochrome: Families, Marriage and the Individualization Thesis’, Smart, C and Shipman, B, British Journal of Sociology, (2004) vol 55(4): 491-509. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Why can’t they agree: the underlying complexity of contact and residence disputes’, Smart, C and May, V, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, (2004) vol 26(4): 1-14.
‘Towards an Understanding of Family Change: Gender Conflict and Children’s Citizenship’, Australian Journal of Family Law, (2003) vol 17: 1-17. Published by LexisNexis.
‘New Perspectives on Childhood and Divorce: an introduction’, Childhood: A global journal of child research, (2003) vol 10 (2): 123-9 issn 0907-5682. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
Reconsidering the Recent History of Child Sexual Abuse, 1910-1960’, Journal of Social Policy, (2000) vol 29 (1): 1-17. Publisher's copyright statement [new window].
‘Stories of Family Life: Cohabitation, Marriage and Social Change’, Canadian Journal of Family Law, (2000) vol 17 (1): 20-53.
‘Children and the Transformation of Family Law’, University of New Brunswick Law Journal, (2000) vol 49: 1-21.
'Close Relationships and Personal Life' (2011) in May, V. (ed) The Sociology of Personal Life (link opens in new window)Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978-0-230-27897-4
'Children's Personal Lives' (2011) in May, V. (ed) The Sociology of Personal Life (Link opens in new window) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978-0-230-27897-4
'Relationality and Socio-cultural Theories of Family Life' (2011) in R.Jallinoja and E.Widmer (eds) Families in the Making, pp 13-30. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
'Resensando el Derecho de Familia' (Rethinking Family Law) (2010) in Daniela Heim and Encarna Bodelon Gonzales (eds) Derecho, Genero e Iqualdad, Vol 1, Barcelona: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, pp 373 -390
‘Making Kin: Relationality and Law’, (2009) in A. Bottomley and S. Wong (eds) Changing Contours of Domestic Life, Family and Law: Caring and Sharing, Oxford: Hart Publishing
‘The Parenting Contest: Problems of Ongoing Conflict over Children’ V. May and C. Smart (2007) in M. Maclean (ed) Parenting after Partnering: Containing Conflict after Separation, Oxford: Hart Publishing, ISBN 9781841137827
‘The Ethic of Justice Strikes Back: Changing Narratives of Fatherhood’ in A Diduck, and K O’Donovan (eds) Feminist Perspectives in Family Law, (2006) London: Glass House Publications ISBN 978-0-415-42036-5
‘Changing Commitments: A Study of Close Kin after Divorce’ in M Maclean (ed) Family Law and Family Values, (2005) Oxford: Hart Publishing Ltd.
‘As fair as it can be? Childhood after divorce’, A Wade and C Smart, in A Jensen, and L McKee (eds) Children and the Changing Family: Between Transformation and Negotiation, (2003) London: FalmerRoutledge, pp 105-119 (ISBN 0 415 27774 4).
‘Children and the Transformation of Family Law’ in J Dewar and S Parker (eds) Family Law: Processes, Practices, Pressures, (2003) Chapter 10: 223-240, Oxford: Hart Publishing ISBN 1-84113-308-6.
‘Caring, Earning and Changing: Parenthood and Employment after Divorce’ B Neale, and C Smart, in A Carling, S Duncan and R Edwards (eds) Analysing Families: Morality and Rationality in Policy and Practice, (2002) London: Routledge, pp 183-198.
‘New Dimensions to Gendered Power Relations in Families’, in J Cook, J Roberts and G Waylen (eds) Towards a Gendered Political Economy, (2000) London: Macmillan, 188-204.
‘Divorce in England 1950-2000: A Moral Tale?’, in S Katz, J Eekelaar and M Maclean (eds) Cross Currents: Family Law and Policy in the US and England, (2000) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 363-387.