Susan Prentice


Susan Prentice Ph.D. Professor 
Twitter: @susanprentice

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 returned to France in Spring 2013 to continue my research. I am working hard to improve my French, and currently hold the DALF C1.

Public Sociology

I practice public sociology and work closely with social movements. I believe community- university collaboration is a site of exciting scholarship and knowledge generation. I actively work on knowledge mobilization oriented to popular audiences, social movements, elected officials, decision makers and the media.
I am a member of:
• Manitoba Commission on Early Learning and Childcare
• Child Care Coalition of Manitoba.
• Table de recherche, Coalition francophone de la petite enfance du Manitoba
• Advisory Board, International Centre for the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC), University of East London


My recent undergraduate teaching includes Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1200), the undergraduate Honours Seminar Critical Issues (SOC 2010), Family (SOC 2460), and will soon include thte Honours Seminar (SOC 4450).

My graduate teaching recently has focused on 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.”

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, Computer Science, 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

“Exploring Gender Effects on Assembly-Line Human-Robot Teams.” Interdisciplinary/New Directions Research Collaboration Initiation Grant, University of Manitoba: I am co-investigator on this one-year project, led by Dr James Young, along with co-investigator Dr. Andrea Bunt.

 “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 project ending in 2015, 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

White, L., S. Prentice and M. Perlman. (2015). The Evidence Base for Early Childhood Education and Care Program Investment: What We Know, What We Don’t Know. Evidence and Policy. DOI:

Prentice, S. (2014). 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. (2013). 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. 33(3), 302 – 317.

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.

White, L., & Prentice, S. (2013). When the Evidence Doesn’t Matter: Evidence–Based Policy–Making and Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In S. Young (Ed.), Evidence–Based Policy–Making in Canada: A Multidisciplinary Look at How Evidence and Knowledge Shape Canadian Public Policy. (pp. 91 – 177): University of Toronto Press.

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.

Recent Public Sociology Publications - Selected

Friendly, M and S. Prentice (December 2, 2014). “Child Care Shouldn’t Be For-Profit.” Winnipeg Free Press.

McCracken, M. and S. Prentice, (November 14, 2014). “Canadians Deserve a Universal Early Childhood Education and Care System.” CCPA Fast Facts, Winnipeg. Available at:
Reprinted on Rabble (2014, Nov 17) at

McCracken, M. and S. Prentice, (2014). “Good Childcare is Good for the Economy,” Winnipeg Free Press. (November 13), Available at

Team member. (November, 2014). Progress on Women’s Rights: Missing in Action - A Shadow Report on Canada’s Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ottawa, October. Available at:’s-rights-missing-action

Prentice, S. (2014, June 10). “Not for Profit Childcare is Best Investment.” Winnipeg Free Press.

Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, 2014. Video – Parent Voices Roundtable (collective production)

Beach, J., M. Friendly, S. Prentice and L. White. (2013). There’s No Need to Fear a National Child Care Program. Globe and Mail. (November 13). (–debate/theres–no–need–to–fear–a–national–child–care–program/article15411259/)

Prentice, S. (2013, September 30). Manitoba Needs a Public Childcare System – CCPA Fast Fact. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba.

Expert team member. Muttart Foundation. (2012). Putting the Pieces Together: The Integrative Elements of a New Early Learning and Care Framework – Toward a Provincial Framework for Early Learning and Care in Alberta. Edmonton, AB: The Muttart Foundation.

FemNorthNet Thompson [member of team]. (2012). Women, Economic Development and Restructuring in Thompson. Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Feminist Northern Network (FemNorthNet) CURA Project: Ottawa.

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

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 (refereed and non-refereed) - Selected

Langford, R., S. Prentice, P. Albanese and B. Richardson (2014, November), “How to be Contentious and Cooperative at the Same Time in Childcare Policy Development: Learning from the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada’s Relationship with the Federal Government from 2003 to 2005,” Presented at “Childcare Research, Evidence and Policy: Mobilizing Knowledge”, Winnipeg, MB.

Prentice, S. (2014, May) “Public Scholarship in the 21st Century: The Debate,” Organized by UBC Press at Congress, St. Catherine’s, ON

Langford, R., S. Prentice and P. Albanese (2014, May). “Reclaiming Care as a Motivation for Child Care Advocacy in Canada: Benefits, Challenges and Problems.” Presented at the Canadian Sociological Association Meeting, ‘Gender, Social Movements and Care’ session, St. Catherine’s, ON

Prentice, S. (2014, May), “Hot Topics in Canadian ECEC,” Manitoba Child Care Association Annual Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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.

Prentice, S. (2013, March), “The Woman Question: Why Childcare is Still a Women’s Issue.” Presented to the “The ‘A’ Word: Challenging Advocacy in the Fight for a Canadian Child Care System,” Toronto.

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 March 2015.