Carol Christine Smart

Carol Christine Smart
The University of Manchester · School of Social Sciences

B.Sc. ; M.A. ; PhD; FAcSS; CBE

About

77
Publications
15,601
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3,018
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2005 - January 2014
The University of Manchester
Position
  • Professor
August 2005 - January 2014
The University of Manchester
Position
  • Managing Director
September 1992 - September 2005
University of Leeds
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (77)
Article
Full-text available
Legal and social attitudes towards gay men and lesbians have altered considerably in latter years and yet recent research suggests that 'coming out' as lesbian and gay may remain a troubled business, especially in one's own family. Exploring this theme, we situate gay and lesbian identities in wider family networks and explore how gay men and women...
Chapter
This chapter explores how donor conception can give rise to secrets and sensitivities in families. Secrecy has a long history in the context of donor conception (Haimes, 1992; Kirkman, 2005) and recent studies suggest that it remains an important feature of the life of families of donor conceived children. For example, Readings et al. (2011), Grace...
Chapter
In this chapter our focus is on how the decision to conceive a child from donor gametes can have the kind of effect that a pebble has when dropped into a small pond. That is to say the decision causes ripples that spread out from the couple to impact upon wider family relationships. These ripples may be gentle nudges but at times they may seem like...
Chapter
In this chapter we explore the complex road that both heterosexual and lesbian couples traverse in the process of achieving a pregnancy against the odds. Of course the ‘odds’ facing heterosexual couples and lesbian couples are not exactly the same. Heterosexual couples only resort to assisted conception when they find out that one (or both) of them...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss the complex ways in which families of donor conceived children make sense of the child’s genetic connection outside the family to the egg, sperm or embryo donor(s). The donor relationship raises difficult questions, for example, how the donor should relate to the family and the child, his or her role in child’s life and a...
Chapter
This chapter is about the idea of openness in family relationships and explores parents’ experiences of actively sharing information about donor conception with their children and with their wider family. Openness in the context of donor assisted conception has come to mean the practice whereby parents tell their children all about the means of the...
Chapter
Such headlines in the UK are now far from rare. For example, in February 2013 alone The Guardian had two similar articles; one was headed ‘Who’s my sperm donor father?’ (February 23, 2013) and the other stated ‘Our kids have two mums’ (February 16, 2013). Similar headlines would have been unthinkable 50 or even 20 years ago and perhaps what is most...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss the complex meaning of genetic connections in families of donor conceived children. Having a child of one’s own is deeply framed by ideas about genetic relatedness, and we have already seen in Chapter 2 how very upsetting it can be for heterosexual couples to come to terms with the inability to conceive a child together a...
Chapter
Judging from these quotations it would seem that the concept of the gene is now part of everyday thinking. The terms ‘gene’ or ‘genetic’ are routinely invoked when talking about family relationships, reproduction and children. These terms are in everyday use; in fact some now refer to the geneticisation of society because, in Western cultures, we s...
Book
Introduction 1. Proper Families? Cultural Expectations and Donor Conception 2. Uncharted Territories: Donor Conception in Personal Life 3. Ripples Through the Family 4. Keeping it Close: Sensitivities and Secrecy 5. Opening Up: Negotiating Disclosure 6. Donors: Strangers, Boundaries and Tantalising Knowledge 7. (Not) One of Us: Genes and Belonging...
Chapter
In our study of young same-sex partners in formalised relationships, we partly set out to explore the ways in which the partners conceived and practised their relationships as ‘like’ and/or ‘unlike’ marriage. In light of the findings of previous studies of same-sex relationships, and some of own research on previous generational experiences, we wer...
Chapter
Given the emphasis that many of our couples placed on the ordinary, and the enduring nature of the relating ideals and values that they had grown up with, as discussed in Chapter 3, it is perhaps unsurprising that they should choose to ‘marry’. However, while the majority of partners saw their entry into civil partnership as an expression of their...
Chapter
As discussed in Chapter 1, one strong sociological narrative that has emerged from previous studies of same-sex relationships is that partners must ‘invent’ their relationships from scratch. This has been linked to the lack of cultural guidelines and social supports for lesbian and gay identities and relationships, and implies the possibility (or e...
Chapter
A key part of our enquiry into the lives of young same-sex couples focused on the question of money management. In this chapter we explore whether practices and meanings of money appear to be different to understandings derived from studies of heterosexual relationships. The question of money management has been a significant one in studies of hete...
Chapter
In this chapter we consider some of the international, socio-historical and political contexts that are the backdrop to new generational claims about the ordinariness of same-sex relationships and marriages. Our aim is to situate these claims, and the relating practices they involve, in terms of developments in heterosexual and non-heterosexual cul...
Chapter
In this chapter we explore how young same-sex relationships develop and change following civil partnership. There is a cultural expectation that love relationships will change once a couple have entered into a marriage, but such expectations are based on what is known about heterosexual couples. It is not at all clear that such expectations should...
Chapter
Over the course of a few generations, the everyday possibilities for same-sex relationships in Western societies have altered in dramatic, but uneven, ways. In some contexts, it has become possible for samesex couples and partners to live more mainstream lives than ever before. There are few contexts in which the mainstreaming of same-sex relations...
Chapter
As discussed in Chapter 3, young formalised same-sex relationships need to be understood within the context of the enduring privileging of the couple as an adult relational ideal. Also, as noted in Chapter 2, partners viewed stability as central to a ‘good’ and fulfilling relationship or marriage. In this chapter we consider how the privileging of...
Article
Full-text available
Article
This article examines the extent to which children are consulted about their wishes and feelings in residence and contact disputes in three county courts in England. We found that children’s preferences and feelings were included on court files in approximately one quarter of cases brought under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 applications. The...
Article
In this paper we explore some of the negative aspects of friendship. In so doing we do not seek to join the debate about whether or not friendships are more or less important than other relationships but rather to explore precisely how significant friendships can be. Based on written accounts submitted to the British Mass Observation Project, we an...
Article
Full-text available
Empirical social science research is inevitably highly dependent on verbal communication. Observation, ethnographic and visual methods do of course go beyond words (or meanings derived and shared solely through language) but talking (or words)remains central to communicating meaning. In this paper I want to explore ways of knowing that, while not f...
Article
Full-text available
In this article I argue that the telling of family secrets is tied into the workings of family memories and that the stories that people tell cannot be regarded as simple factual accounts. Rather they are amongst the kinds of stories that are part of the constitution of ‘the family’. Secrets, it might be assumed, are buried and forgotten but it is...
Chapter
In this chapter I propose to take some of the ideas I initially developed in Personal Life (Smart, 2007b) a little further. The purpose of that book was to start a process of reconceptualization of the sociology of relationships by putting a reflexive (social) self (Burkitt, 2008) into the centre of this approach as opposed to the isolated individu...
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the changing relationship between traditional legal definitions of motherhood and fatherhood and newer scientific definitions of parenthood. It is acknowledged that procedures like DNA testing have transformed legal interpretations, but in so doing it is argued that the social and cultural significance of kinship has been squ...
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the challenges of developing methodologies which build on the insights of early feminist research and methods, but which also incorporate some of the new innovations in sociological, qualitative research. Feminist research has emphasized the need to capture the everyday lives of women (and others) but this is not so easy once...
Article
Full-text available
Uncovering old or historical family secrets has become an enjoyable pastime yet in contemporary families the keeping of secrets, especially those relating to reproduction and paternity, is seen increasingly as undesirable. This article explores these issues and the growing tendency for family law and policy to favour exposing genetic truths – seein...
Article
Full-text available
The availability of same-sex weddings poses a number of personal and political dilemmas for couples who decide that they wish to go through a ceremony of recognition or civil partnership. In this article I argue that British couples are acutely aware of the political ramifications of their decisions and I focus attention on the interplay between th...
Article
Focusing on the decision to enter into a marriage and/or to conduct a commitment ceremony, this paper explores how same-sex couples negotiate their relationships with both family and friends at the point at which they make decisions about who to invite to their ceremony. The ceremony is argued to be a ‘fateful moment’ at which point lesbians and ga...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we map briefly some of the arguments around the meaning and significance of the introduction of Civil Partnership in England and Wales, and in this way show how contested these meanings are with some groups profoundly against this legal reform and others supporting it, but for a mixture of reasons. We then turn to our empirical data b...
Article
This article draws on interviews with 60 children and young people to explore how they construct narrative accounts of post-divorce family life. Rather than seeking to describe children's experiences as if their accounts are simple factual recollections, the focus of the article is on how young people position themselves in their narratives and the...
Article
Full-text available
This article attempts to account for the existence of parallel systems of values in families where grandparents condemn divorce, yet act to support their adult children when they face relationship breakdown. The article seeks to understand the context in which values are formed and how they can gradually become more complex and contradictory as soc...
Article
This paper takes issue with the way in which the individualization thesis--in which it is assumed that close relationships have become tenuous and fragile--has become so dominant in 'new' sociological theorizing about family life. Although others have criticized this thesis, in this paper the main criticism derives from empirical research findings...
Article
The Children Act 1989 gave priority to the welfare of children when family courts make orders for residence and contact. As a consequence, other issues came to be viewed as less significant. In this article, we examine the court records of three County Courts to determine to what extent the disputes that parents bring to court are actually about ch...
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Article
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The fathers’ rights movement in England has recently been given a huge boost by the involvement of Bob Geldof who has become their influential mouthpiece in the media and elsewhere. The movement has also diversified and adopted more high profile tactics more akin to those used in Australia and New Zealand. These tactics have challenged family law t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the question of how families are changing in the context of transformed policies on divorce in England and Wales. However, rather than painting a picture of change through the use of statistical data, the argument will be based on qualitative data which focuses on the interiority of family and kin relationships and on the princ...
Article
This article considers the sudden rush of enthusiam to hear children's voices in divorce proceedings in countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere and points to the problems that are likely to occur if the family law system really does mean to treat children seriously. It argues that children give complex accounts t...
Article
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This paper explores how different discursive sites have sought to define and/or deny the actuality and harm of child sexual abuse in the first half of the twentieth century in England and Wales. Primary data from journal and archival sources suggest that there were a range of competing accounts of sexual abuse (usually referred to as sexual ass...
Chapter
The question of gender relations within families or households has been an important area of enquiry for both feminist sociologists and economists in the UK since the 1970s. As other contributors to this volume have indicated, there has been a close association between feminists in these different disciplines who worked or still work under the umbr...
Article
Full-text available
This article was presented as one of the plenary addresses at the Keele Conference on Gender, Sexuality and Law in June 1998. Speakers were asked to focus on how their own work had developed and changed over time. In my address and in this article these issues are essentially absent because I cannot avoid the conclusion that, in my case at least, t...
Chapter
It has become almost clichéd to remark upon the so-called crisis in fatherhood in western societies in the 1990s. There are a burgeoning number of studies on both masculinities and fatherhood(s).1 Social policy and family law have turned their attention to fathers and fathering, and pressure groups continue to press for a greater recognition of fat...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we take issue with the way in which pro-family right thinking has managed to discursively construct divorce as an instance of immorality/amorality and to depict those who divorce as merely self- interested. We challenge this thinking by working with some of Bauman's ideas on moral competency and postmodernity and by draw ing on the...
Article
In this paper we examine the work of family lawyers in helping parents to negotiate arrangements for their children at the point of separation or divorce. Our focus is twofold. First, to examine the impact of legislative and procedural changes in family law upon this process and, secondly, to explore the popular perception that lawyers fall into tw...
Article
Full-text available
In popular and political debate there is currently a theme which dominates discussion about the family and this is the theme of decline and destabilisation caused by the rise of individualism and lack of moral fibre. There is a wishful thinking intrinsic to these debates in which it is hoped that the family can be returned to an idealised state, un...
Article
Recent policy changes in the area of family law have promoted changes in the organisation of the post-divorce family. These shifts place emphasis on consensual joint parenting after divorce and emphasise agreement rather than conflict between parents. In addition, these policy changes have given a new status to fatherhood and seek to maintain relat...
Chapter
Heterosexuality poses problems for feminism. There is a sense in which it always has. The suffragettes and first-wave feminists were fiercely divided over aspects of heterosexuality. From Josephine Butler’s campaigns against the Contagious Diseases Acts in the 1880s to later ideas of free love in the 1920s it was clear that early feminists would ra...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
theoretical perspective and to clarify certain concepts which have come into use in the field of feminist philosophy but which may be less familar elsewhere. My interest in law is in terms of law as a discourse which brings into practice or operation the feminine legal subject. The specific feminine legal subject I am concerned with here is the mot...
Article
1. Power and the Politics of Custody Carol Smart 2. The Politics of Custody and Gender: Child Advocacy and the Transformation of Custody Decision Making in the USA Martha Fineman 3. Rights for Fathers and the State: Recent Developments in Custody Politics in the Netherlands Nora Holtrust, Selma Sevenhuijsen and Annick Verbracken 4. The Interest of...
Article
Introduction 1. The Power of Law 2. Rape: Law and the Disqualification of Women's Sexuality 3. A Note on Child Sexual Abuse 4. The Quest for a Feminist Jurisprudence 5. Law, Power and Women's Studies 6. Theory into Practice: The Problem of Pornography 7. The Problem of Rights Bibliography Index.
Article
A detailed examination is presented of the background to the reports and policy developments concerning drug dependence which emerged in Britain during the 1960s. Analysis of documents and interviews with policy makers, officials and doctors involved in the events of the period, reveal that explanatory models in terms of 'moral panic' or 'power str...
Article
Drug dependence units (DDUs) form the cornerstone of government policy response to problem drug taking. Yet we know surprisingly little about the facilities that they can provide and what treatment policies they adopt. This paper constitutes a modest attempt to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge and points to the need to base future policy reco...
Article
The drug addict or 'problem drug taker' is the focus of a number of overlapping systems of regulation from moral to medical and penal. It is consequently difficult to analyse the development of policy in this area without lapsing into oversimplifications which imply either a process of medicalization or the unity of a totalitarian system of social...
Article
The drug addict or ‘problem drug taker’ is the focus of a number of overlapping systems of regulation from moral to medical and penal. It is consequently difficult to analyse the development of policy in this area without lapsing into oversimplifications which imply either a process of medicalization or the unity of a totalitarian system of social...
Article
Classical and contemporary criminology has largely overlooked female criminality. This neglect has produced a situation in which analyses of this phenomenon have met no theoretically informed body of criticism and ideologically informed studies have become 'leading' works by default. The ideological underpinnings of these studies are based upon com...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Archived project
Study among young couples who have entered into Civil Partnership in the UK involving interviews with 50 couples. The couples were interviewed together and apart with a focus on personal and relational biographies, meeting and dating practices, partnerships and marriages, finances, intimacies and sex, centrality of the couple relationship, family life and family planning