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Dr Naomi Holford

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer (Childhood and Youth Studies)
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • naomi.holford

Professional biography

My broad research interests fall within sociology, in the area of gender, sexuality and class in childhood and youth, across different age ranges from the early years to teenagers. I work with queer and feminist perspectives to explore the making of gendered/sexual subjectivities and relationships, with a particular focus on relations of power, conflict and violence, in their broader institutional and social contexts. My ESRC-funded doctoral research focused on gender and power in teenage heterosexual relationship cultures, including issues of control, coercion and abuse. I explored these in relation to middle-class 14-16 year olds' experiences and identities, with a particular interest in the intersections of class, age, gender and sexuality. I was principal researcher on an ethnographic research project with Emma Renold (Cardiff University) and Tuija Huuki (University of Oulu), exploring gender, power and conflict in young children's peer cultures (age 5-6), affiliated with the EU ALLiES project (Teachers' and Parents' Alliance for Early Violence Prevention in Preschool), funded under the DAPHNE III programme.

My teaching expertise spans the undergradate and postgraduate curriculum in childhood and youth studies. I am module chair of E212 (Childhood), an interdisciplinary and internationally-focussed second level childhood studies module, and I work on the delivery of several other undergraduate modules. I am also the Academic Co-ordinator for the Child and Youth Studies section of the Open University's Doctorate in Education (EdD) programme.  

I have recently been heavily involved with developing new modules in the undergraduate childhood and youth curriculum, including E102 (Introduction to Childhood Studies and Child Psychology), a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introductory module that brings together different perspectives on understanding childhood, and EK313 (Issues in research with children and young people), a third-level course that critically explores research with children and young people. I have been closely involved with E807, a core masters level module on the Open University's MA in Childhood and Youth Studies.


Gendered emotion work and the micro-practices of heterosexuality: Two middle-class teenage partner relationships (2019-05-31)
Holford, Naomi
Women's Studies International Forum, 74 (pp. 162-168)
What (else) can a kiss do? Theorizing the power plays in young children’s sexual cultures (2013)
Holford, Naomi; Renold, Emma and Huuki, Tuija
Sexualities, 16(5-6) (pp. 710-729)
Transitions to adulthood (2015)
Holford, Naomi
In: Farrington-Flint, Lee and Montgomery, Heather eds. An introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 299-324)
Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Lost innocence? The sexualization of childhood (2015)
Holford, Naomi
In: Kehily, Mary Jane ed. An introduction to childhood studies. Third edition. (pp. 173-190)
Publisher : Open University Press
Gender and sexuality (2015)
Holford, Naomi
In: Farrington-Flint, Lee and Montgomery, Heather eds. An introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 255-276)
Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes


Demystifying contraception

A research grant has just been awarded to an OU researcher to demystify contraception.

15th August 2019
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