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Alsarve, J. (2019). Friendship, reciprocity and similarity: Lone mothers and their relationships with friends. Community, Work and Family
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Friendship, reciprocity and similarity: Lone mothers and their relationships with friends
2019 (English)In: Community, Work and Family, ISSN 1366-8803, E-ISSN 1469-3615Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Studies have demonstrated the importance of informal social relationships in lone mothers’ everyday lives, not least regarding their ability to reconcile paid work and care duties. This paper examines lone mothers’ relationships with their friends. Drawing on qualitative interviews with Swedish lone mothers, it aims to analyse how friendship relations are described by the lone mothers, to what extent they are characterized by different forms of reciprocity and if the mothers perceive their friends as being part of their families. Inspired by Alberoni’s thoughts on friendship, and Finch and Mason’s view of reciprocity, the analysis reveals a complex picture of friendship relations. It is argued that friends often play a significant role in the everyday lives of the lone mothers. Friends were seen as key elements in some mothers’ lives, and sometimes were defined as ‘family’, providing emotional as well as practical support; but they were almost entirely absent in the lives of others. The support from their friends was often surrounded by norms of reciprocity. The results indicate that although the help from friends sometimes was decisive and appreciated, the mothers found it difficult to ask friends for help.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Lone mothers, friendship, reciprocity, personal relationships, social support networks
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77104 (URN)10.1080/13668803.2019.1649636 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 344-2011-5462
Available from: 2019-10-09 Created: 2019-10-09 Last updated: 2019-10-09Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J. (2019). Förhandlade relationer i kölvattnet efter en mammas sjukskrivning. In: Jenny Alsarve & Erik Löfmarck (Ed.), Samhälle i förhandling: Villkor, processer, konsekvenser (pp. 89-102). Sociology: Örebro universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Förhandlade relationer i kölvattnet efter en mammas sjukskrivning
2019 (Swedish)In: Samhälle i förhandling: Villkor, processer, konsekvenser / [ed] Jenny Alsarve & Erik Löfmarck, Sociology: Örebro universitet , 2019, p. 89-102Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sociology: Örebro universitet, 2019
Series
Örebro Studies in Sociology, ISSN 1650-2531
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77106 (URN)978-91-87789-21-2 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-10-09 Created: 2019-10-09 Last updated: 2019-12-12
Alsarve, J., Lundqvist, Å. & Roman, C. (2017). Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier (1ed.). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier
2017 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2017. p. 184 Edition: 1
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53813 (URN)978-91-40-69487-4 (ISBN)
Projects
Ensam mamma i en flexibel ekonomi
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-12-06 Created: 2016-12-06 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J. (2017). Working it out: strategies to reconcile work and family among Swedish lone mothers. Families, Relationships and Societies, 6(3), 325-340
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Working it out: strategies to reconcile work and family among Swedish lone mothers
2017 (English)In: Families, Relationships and Societies, ISSN 2046-7435, E-ISSN 2046-7443, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 325-340Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drawing on 39 interviews with Swedish lone mothers, this article aims to explore the central coping strategies used by the mothers in reconciling work and family. The article also studies how working conditions and access to economic and social capital influence the coping strategies used. The findings indicate a variety of coping strategies. These were clearly influenced by position in the labour market and access to social and economic capital. While for instance working-class mothers tried to changed jobs to cope with temporary employments, middle-class mothers used flexitime to cope with work–family conflict. Access to social capital was crucial for all mothers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Policy Press, 2017
Keywords
lone motherhood, work–family conflict, work–family integration, coping strategies, social capital, economic capital
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46124 (URN)10.1332/204674315X14418885009965 (DOI)000417915200001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 344-2011-5462
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2018-04-23Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J., Lundqvist, Å. & Roman, C. (2016). Dilemman, resurser, strategier (1ed.). In: J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman (Ed.), Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier (pp. 147-161). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dilemman, resurser, strategier
2016 (Swedish)In: Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier / [ed] J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016, 1, p. 147-161Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016 Edition: 1
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53809 (URN)978-91-40-69487-4 (ISBN)
Projects
Ensam mamma i en flexibel ekonomi
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-12-06 Created: 2016-12-06 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J., Lundqvist, Å. & Roman, C. (2016). Inledning (1ed.). In: J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman (Ed.), Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier (pp. 9-16). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inledning
2016 (Swedish)In: Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier / [ed] J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016, 1, p. 9-16Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016 Edition: 1
Keywords
ensamstående mödrar, arbete-familjkonflikt, klass, resurser, strukturell ambivalens
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53806 (URN)978-91-40-69487-4 (ISBN)
Projects
Ensam mamma i en flexibel ekonomi
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-12-06 Created: 2016-12-06 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J. & Roman, C. (2016). Metod och metodologiska överväganden (1ed.). In: J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman (Ed.), Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier (pp. 179-185). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metod och metodologiska överväganden
2016 (Swedish)In: Ensamma mammor: Dilemman, resurser, strategier / [ed] J. Alsarve, Å. Lundqvist, C. Roman, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016, 1, p. 179-185Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2016 Edition: 1
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53810 (URN)978-91-40-69487-4 (ISBN)
Projects
Ensam mamma i en flexibel ekonomi
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-12-06 Created: 2016-12-06 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J., Boye, K. & Roman, C. (2016). The crossroads of equality and biology: The child’s best interests and constructions of motherhood and fatherhood in Sweden (1ed.). In: D. Grunow, M. Evertsson (Ed.), Couples' Transition to Parenthood: Analysing Gender and Work in Europe (pp. 79-100). Edward Elgar Publishing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The crossroads of equality and biology: The child’s best interests and constructions of motherhood and fatherhood in Sweden
2016 (English)In: Couples' Transition to Parenthood: Analysing Gender and Work in Europe / [ed] D. Grunow, M. Evertsson, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016, 1, p. 79-100Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Gender equality has been an important policy goal for more than four decades in Sweden and is commonly seen as an integral part of the Swedish welfare state. However, the gender division of work is still reproduced both in and out of paid work. In this chapter, we analyse interviews with 40 Swedish women and men (20 couples) to explore how norms regarding what is in the child’s best interest enter into decisions concerning parental care, childcare and paid work, and links to social construction of motherhood and fatherhood. A key notion in the interviews was shared parenting. It was seen as highly important that the child gets close, strong ties to both its mother and father. A second, and related, notion was that it is in the interest of the child to have an engaged and caring father, implying a new kind of fatherhood. The ideas on shared parenting and the engaged father were sometimes linked to ideas on gender equality, but sometimes they went hand in hand with more traditional notions of motherhood and fatherhood. Motherhood was, on the one hand, constructed as distinct from fatherhood and closely related to female biology. On the other hand, motherhood was constructed to fit with women’s identities as independent and work-oriented. The interviews seem to reflect a recent political and cultural development where major changes have occurred regarding fatherhood norms but where less has happened regarding motherhood norms. Gender equality was, however, one central factor that the couples took into account in their plans for the future. About half of the interviewed couples planned to share parental leave equally or wanted to share equally but were open to being flexible, for instance in regard to possible changes in their employment or financial situation. Licensed childcare was the obvious childcare arrangement after the parental leave period was over and was perceived as beneficial to the child’s development. Unlike parents in many other countries, parents in Sweden can rely on a system of social policies that are developed and adjusted to facilitate the lives of dual-earner/dual-carer families.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016 Edition: 1
National Category
Sociology Gender Studies
Research subject
Sociology; Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53811 (URN)10.4337/9781785366000.00013 (DOI)9781785365997 (ISBN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-12-06 Created: 2016-12-06 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alsarve, J. (2015). Lone but not alone?: lone mothers’ need of social support networks in order to attain work-family balance. In: DIFFERENCES INEQUALITIES AND SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION. ESA 2015 PRAGUE: BOOK OF ABSTRACTS. Paper presented at 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Prague, Czech Republic, August 25-28, 2015 (pp. 651-652).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lone but not alone?: lone mothers’ need of social support networks in order to attain work-family balance
2015 (English)In: DIFFERENCES INEQUALITIES AND SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION. ESA 2015 PRAGUE: BOOK OF ABSTRACTS, 2015, p. 651-652Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this paper I explore the meaning of social support networks for lone mothers in Sweden. Drawing on 39 in-depth interviews with Swedish lone mothers from different social backgrounds the paper discusses questions like: How does family and friends support lone mothers in their everyday lives? In what ways does access to social support networks facilitate or constrain lone mothers’ ability to reconcile paid work and caring responsibilities? Inspired by theories on reciprocity the paper also discusses the underlying premises for different kinds of support. The results show the support from kin, family and friends were vital in mediating work-family conflict among the mothers. Not least the mothers own mothers were the most important helpers. In addition the middle class mothers got more regular help than working class mothers. This is in line with previous research indicating that higher educated people get and receive more support. The findings are striking since family policies in Sweden has aimed at facilitating parent’s combination of work and family not least by offering a low cost and high quality childcare. Working long hours and/or unsocial hours as well as a high workload however meant that informal support was extremely important. For the ones lacking access to social support networks everyday life as a working single mother was very difficult.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46132 (URN)978-80-7330-272-6 (ISBN)
Conference
12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Prague, Czech Republic, August 25-28, 2015
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 344-2011-5462
Available from: 2015-10-16 Created: 2015-10-16 Last updated: 2019-04-10Bibliographically approved
Roman, C. & Alsarve [Ahlberg], J. (2014). Lone mothers and long hours: work-family conflict in the everyday lives of lone mothers in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology: Yokohama Research Committee: Work, Women, Class and Care: Working Women in Contemporary European Cities, Yokohama, Japan, July 13-19 July, 2014.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lone mothers and long hours: work-family conflict in the everyday lives of lone mothers in Sweden
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The gendered nature of the struggle to integrate caring, family and paid work has been repeatedly demonstrated. Most research, however, has focused on dual parent families. This paper discusses work-family conflict in the everyday lives of lone mothers in Sweden. We use an agency-centered framework inspired by the capabilities approach, which emphasizes that the options of an individual depend greatly on institutions and relations with others. Drawing on 38 in-depth interviews with lone mothers from different social backgrounds we explore i) how the proper relationship between motherhood and paid work is conceived of, ii) the institutional and relational factors that influence lone mothers’ opportunities to attain work-life balance, and iii) the strategies employed in negotiating paid work and family. Results show that paid work is integral to good motherhood to all mothers regardless of social class. They also show that lone mothers typically experience high levels of work-family conflict. Opportunities to reconcile paid work and family depend on employment conditions, accessibility to social support networks, the role of the absent father, household composition, and access to public childcare on unregularly hours. In the case of middle class mothers, blurred boundaries between work and family life and late meetings restrict opportunities to attain work-family balance. For working class mothers temporal employment, unregular working hours and low earnings are significant constraining factors. Reducing working hours, negotiating working schedules, and asking relatives and friends for help are examples of strategies used to reduce work-life conflicts. Reducing travelling time between the job and the home by moving from one place to another, and moving closer to relatives to increase the chances to get practical support are other examples. While middle-class women typically used flexi-time at work to alleviate conflicts between different responsibilities, several low-income mothers changed jobs in order to improve their situation.

Keywords
lone mothers, social class, the capabilities approach, work-family conflict
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38739 (URN)
Conference
XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology: Yokohama Research Committee: Work, Women, Class and Care: Working Women in Contemporary European Cities, Yokohama, Japan, July 13-19 July, 2014
Projects
Ensam mamma i en flexibel ekonomi
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-8068-2667

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