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Att upprätthålla livet: Om lågavlönade ensamstående mödrars försörjning i Sverige
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Supporting livelihood : Low-paid single mothers’ sustenance in Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is about the experiences of low-paid single mothers in sustaining their families in Sweden in the early 2000. The investigation builds upon interviews with twenty low-paid single mothers living and working in Stockholm. Ten of the women are Swedish-born and the other ten are Iranian-born but have been residing in Sweden for several years. A majority of the Swedish-born women belong to the working class, while most of the Iranian-born mothers are from a middle class background. This study is based on an extended definition of sustenance that encompasses support for livelihood and meeting the family needs that conform to socially accepted norms. Sustenance requires incomes to cover expenses and care work. The informants sustain their families mostly from wage work. However, they also seek allowances from the social security system to buy goods and services that they combine with care work to sustain the family. The care work for younger children demands much time and physical work, while caring for older children requires more mental and emotional work. Sustenance for these mothers implies fulfilling all these demands and also to ensure that the children’s’ needs are met. Several factors influence the mothers’ sustenance. Low wages and the single responsibility for children means less money and more time devoted to care work. Few fathers take significant responsibility for their children’s sustenance. The mothers get support from their social networks, often from other women and from the welfare system. Ethnic background negatively affects sustenance for the Iranian-born mothers mostly in the form of reduced cultural and social capital. Children are the highest priority among all the families. However, the priorities may differ among the families and are connected to the mothers’ class, ethnic background and their access to cultural capital.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2008. , 302 p.
Stockholm studies in economic history, ISSN 0346-8305 ; 54
Keyword [en]
Sustenance, low wages, single mothers, care work, gender, working class, middle class, ethnicity, capital, habitus, Iranian-born mothers, Swedish-born mothers
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7762ISBN: 978-91-85445-90-5OAI: diva2:198995
Public defence
2008-06-13, hörsal 3, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-05-22 Created: 2008-05-22 Last updated: 2016-10-20Bibliographically approved

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