Aspiring sociology pupils have praised sociologist Dr Emma Huddlestone following her unique and in-depth look into Military Families, Work and Childcare.

As a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of East Anglia, Emma offered pupils a rare and niche insight into the different levels of military sociology – from gender bias to military spouse’s labour, stigma, and welfare provision.

After obtaining her PhD from Lancaster University, Emma was compelled to explore the relationship diagram within military families further for her ESRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of York.

The project, titled ‘Bringing the Homefront to the Forefront’, explored the ways in which civilian partners of military personnel are framed within welfare providers’ policies and provision, and how these framings are challenged by partners’ lived experiences.

Through the thematic analysis of interviews with army partners and formal support providers, her thesis delved into partners’ navigation and negotiation of coping strategies during the period of deployment, discovering that gendered, militarised constructs of role-expectations limited the likelihood of support-seeking when required.

Dr Emma Huddlestone, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of East Anglia

The talk forms part of the College’s pupil enrichment programme, aimed to support pupils’ study and provide additional subject matter for academic analysis and discussion. Commenting on the theme of her talk, Dr Huddlestone said: “My aim with this talk is to introduce the pupils to critical military sociology and provide a platform for them to consider sociological perspectives relating to ‘families and relationships’, and ‘understanding social inequalities and identities’.

“Many sociologists are interested in how families organise work and childcare commitments, tracing the ways in which such decisions are produced by existing gendered norms and expectations present across society. Comparatively, less attention has been paid to how military families negotiate these responsibilities and expectations in and out of the domestic sphere. The session highlights the various challenges military families encounter when deciding how to organise work and childcare around periods of war and military deployments.”

During the talk “pupils gained an insight into sentiment surrounding female military spouse’s emotional and practical labour, understanding how they live with and negotiate gendered expectations and inequalities – as many female military spouses often compromise their employment opportunities as they adopt primary responsibility for the home and children to enable their serving partner to deploy.”

Emma’s incredible research has contributed to projects at Lancaster University (Military Lives and Transformative Experiences, Community Vulnerability and Well-being in a Rural Village, and Situational and Structural Risks in Gambling) and the University of Lincoln (Breadwinning Mums, Caregiving Dads: Transforming Gender in Work and Childcare). She also worked as a Policy and Research Officer at the charity Army Families Federation between her PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship.

0/5 (0 Reviews)

Where Next?