Susan Prentice

Susan Prentice Ph.D. Professor 

Ph.D. (York University), MES (York University) BA (University of Toronto)

My research program begins with my concerns about social inequality and social change, and my interests in public policy and systemic discrimination. I work in two broad areas of scholarship, each of which I undertake with a critical focus on gender relations. I am trained as an historical sociologist, and so try to bring an historical as well as a sociological imagination to my work.

My primary specialization is contemporary and historical childcare policy and advocacy. Childcare provides a window into state-society relations at the exact moment where family, women’s work, social policy and the state, market forces/privatization, and social movement organizing intersect, and these have been the focus of my research program. My secondary arena of specialization is higher education, where I am keen to understand how formally neutral institutions co-exist with inequality and marginalization. 

My research program has recently turned to European policy debates and social movement struggles to promote and defend work-family reconciliation in hard economic times. I spent 2010-2011 in France, as a Senior Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, Institut des études avancés, École normale supérieure, and will be returning to France in Spring 2013 to continue my research.

As part of my research program, I practice public sociology and work closely with social movements. I believe community-university collaboration is a site of exciting scholarship and knowledge generation. A considerable portion of my communication and dissemination work is oriented to popular audiences, social movements, elected officials, decision makers and the media.

At the undergraduate level, I teach Family (SOC 2460) and Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1200), and often teach the undergraduate Honours Seminar, Critical Issues (SOC 2010) and Sociology and Feminist Theory (SOC 3350). At the graduate level, I have taught Classical Sociological Theory (SOC 7430), and co-taught Feminism and Sociological Theory (SOC 7190) with Dr. Elizabeth Comack. I have begun teaching courses in the new field of public sociology. In 2010, I offered a graduate course, Theory and Practice of Public Sociology (click for course materials). In 2012, I taught a graduate seminar, “Public Sociology: The Thesis and Beyond.”  Please feel free to contact me for copies of my course syllabi.

I enjoy working with Honours and Graduate students inside and outside Sociology. I have worked with MA and PhD students in Anthropology, Applied Health Sciences, City Planning, Economics, Education, English, Family Social Studies, History, Inter-Disciplinary Studies, Political Studies, Rural Studies and Social Work, as well as Sociology.

Current Funded Research Projects

 “Early Childhood Education and Care In Canada: Knowledge Transfer and Mobilization. SSHRC Connections Grant. This one-year project is a collaboration with Donna Lero (University of Guelph) and Martha Friendly (Childcare Resource and Research Unit).

 “Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender And Generational Justice: Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender And Generational Justice Across Canadian and European Social Movements and Policy.” A three-year project ending in 2014, funded by SSHRC, on which I am principal investigator.

“Investigating Professionalism as a Canadian Child Care Movement Strategy in an Era of Neoliberalism.” A three-year project (2011 - 2014) funded by SSHRC, on which I am working with Rachel Langford (PI) and Patrizia Albanese (Ryerson University.)

“FemNorthNet: Learning From Women's Experiences Of Community Transformations as a Result of Economic Restructuring.” A five-year (2010 - 2015) SSHRC Northern Communities CURA project. Jane Stinson, of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, leads the large research team of community and university-based researchers. I work with the Thompson community team as the academic coordinator and I co-lead the social infrastructure research theme with Teresa Healy.

Selected Recent Publications

Prentice, S. (Forthcoming). Reflections on The Theory and Practice of Teaching Public Sociology. In Schneider, C. and A. Hanemaayer (Eds), Public Sociology and Ethics: Knowledge, Pedagogy, and Society. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Langford, R., P. Albanese, S. Prentice (Forthcoming). Early Childhood Education Professionalization as an Advocacy Strategy: A Content Analysis of Canadian Child Care Social Movement Organizations’ 2008 Discursive Resources. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development.

Kruk, R., S. Prentice, & K. Moen. (2013). Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and Reading Acquisition in At-Risk Readers: Does Quantity Matter? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. 45(1), 49 - 63.

Warner, M., & S. Prentice. (2012). Regional Economic Development and Child Care Toward Social Rights. Journal of Urban Affairs. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9906.2012.00622.x

Friendly, M., & S. Prentice. (2012). Provision, Policy and Politics in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In N. Howe & L. Prochner (Eds.), Recent Perspectives in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada (pp. 50 - 79). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Bonnycastle, C., & S. Prentice. (2011). Childcare and Caregiving: Overlooked Barriers for Northern Post-Secondary Women Learners. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 31(1), 1 - 16.

Prentice, S. (2011). Childcare and Mothers’ Dilemmas. In C.L. Biggs and S. Gingell, Eds. Gendered Intersections: Readings for Women's and Gender Studies – Second Edition. Halifax: Fernwood.

Troutt, E., L. Brown, & S. Prentice. (2011). Ten Years After: Sex and Salaries at a Canadian University. Canadian Public Policy, 37(2).

Friendly, M and S. Prentice. (2009). About Canada: Childcare. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Prentice, S. (2009). High Stakes: The ‘Investable’ Child and the Economic Reframing of Childcare. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 34(3), 687 - 710.

Prentice, S. (2008). Childcare, the ‘Business Case’ and Economic Development: Canadian Evidence, Opportunities and Challenges." International Journal of Economic Development, 16(4), 269 - 30.

Prentice, S. (2007). Childcare, Justice and the City: A Case Study of Planning Failure in Winnipeg. Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Vol. 16, no. 1: 92 - 108.

Prentice, S. (2007). Less Access, Worse Quality: New Evidence about Poor Children and Childcare in Canada, Journal of Children and Poverty. Vol.13, no. 1: 57 -73.

Recent Public Sociology Publications

Prentice, S. (2011). Canada’s Childcare Crisis: Low Public Prospects, High Corporate Activity. [Crise des services de garde à l'enfance au Canada: Perspectives publiques pessimistes et grande activité ministérielle] Public Sector Management Magazine, Vol. 22, no. 2 pp. 14 -16.

Prentice, S. (2009). East Beats West: Non-Profit Child Care Superior To Commercial Sector – CCPA Fastfact. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives- Manitoba. (May 21).

Prentice, S. (2009). Study Ignores Issue Of Child-Care Quality: Alberta’s Costs Are Also Generally Higher, And Low-Income Parents Have A Harder Time Finding Spots. Edmonton Journal. p. A15 (May 20).

Prentice, S. (2009). Non-Profit Child Care Superior To Commercial Sector. Winnipeg Free Press. p. A13 (May 19).

Prentice, S. (2009). Old Dollars, New Sense: Recent Evidence and Arguments About Child Care Spending. Our Schools/Our Selves. (April), 237 - 244.

Prentice, S. (2009). The Real Child Care Challenge – CCPA Fastfact. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives- Manitoba. (January 23).

Friendly M. and S. Prentice (2008, November). From Vision to Action: Early Childhood Education and Care in 2020 – Briefing Note. Childcare Resource and Research Unit: Toronto.

Prentice, S. (2008, December 14). The Real Childcare Challenge. Winnipeg Free Press, p. B14.

Prentice, S. (2008, Spring). Rural Childcare in Manitoba: New Economic Evidence. Manitoba Leader - Association of Manitoba Municipalities, 27 - 29.

Wehner, J., Kelly, B., & Prentice, S. (2008). Rural and Northern Childcare: A Summary of Economic and Social Evidence From Manitoba. Winnipeg: Women’s Working Group, Rural Secretariat.

Recent Invited and Keynote Addresses

Prentice, S. (May 2010). “Early and Higher Education, Then and Now: Childcare and Canadian Universities.” Keynote Address to “It Takes a University: Childcare and Postsecondary Education,” University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC.

Prentice, S. (2009, November). “Troubling Lessons: Corporate Childcare in Canada and Abroad.” Sponsored by University Childcare Action Group, REACH (Research in Early Childhood, Care, Education and Health - UVic Branch of the Human Early Learning Partnership) and Canadian Union of Public Employees, University of Victoria, BC.

October 2007, Equity Plenary, Presented to “Growing More of What Works,” Western Regional Conference of Faulty Associations, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

September 2007, “Public Policy, Private Delivery: The Puzzle of Public-Private Partnerships in Childcare.” Presented to “The Mixed Economy of Childcare: Risks and Opportunities - An International Conference.” The inaugural conference of the International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare, University of East London.

May 2007, “The ‘Investable’ Child and the Business Case for Childcare: Canadian Explorations.” Presented at “What is ‘Quality Care’? Cultural Assumptions in Institutions of Early Childhood Education.” The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

January 2007, “Does Language Matter? Childcare and the Case for ‘Social Investment’,” Presented at Women Scholars Visiting Speakers' Series, President's Office, University of Lethbridge. Alberta.

Recent Conferences - Selected

White, L. and S. Prentice (2013, June). “Commission Research on Early Learning: Accounting for Its Varying Influence in Canadian Provinces.” Presented at the International Conference on Public Policy, Session on “Science and Policymaking: Theorizing When/How Scientific or Expert Authority Matters in Policy Making,” Grenoble, France.

Langford, R., P. Albanese, S. Prentice, B. Richardson, L. Macdonald, P. Dhiman (2013, June). “Has the Fight Gone from Canada’s Childcare Movement? An Examination of Advocates’ Perspectives.” Presented at Canadian Sociological Association Meeting, ‘Social Movements in Theory’ session, Victoria, BC.

Langford, R., S. Prentice, and R. Albanese. (2012, July). “Early Childhood Education Professionalism as an Innovation in Advocacy: Critical Exploration.” Presented at International Innovations in ECEC: A Canadian Forum on Early Childhood Frameworks. Victoria, BC.

Langford, R., S. Prentice, P. Albanese, B. Summers, B. Messina, B. Richardson (2012, May). “Keeping Up With Changing Times -A Content Analysis of Child Care Social Movement Organizations: 2008 Discursive Resources in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and at the Federal Level.” Presented at Canadian Sociological Association Meeting, ‘Social Movements and Professionalization: Critical Assessments’ session,’ Waterloo, ON.

Prentice, S. (May, 2011). “Financial Crises and the Framing of Gender and Generational Justice: Canada and France.” Presented at Community, Work and Family Conference, Tampere, Finland.

Prentice, S. (May 2011). “Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender And Generational Justice Across Canadian And European Social Movements and Policy. ” Presented at Work-Life: Cross-National Conversations - Context Theorizing in Work-Life Research. Paris, France.

Last updated April 2013.