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An ethnographic study of unmarried mothers. / Carole, Roberts

Swansea University Author: Carole, Roberts

Abstract

"This ethnographic study of a group of unmarried mothers from a socially deprived area and a newly built housing association estate in South Wales, explores how these young, working-class women became single mothers with specific reference to the social factors of gender and class. Their be...

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Published: 2003
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42592
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Abstract: "This ethnographic study of a group of unmarried mothers from a socially deprived area and a newly built housing association estate in South Wales, explores how these young, working-class women became single mothers with specific reference to the social factors of gender and class. Their becoming single-mothers happened in a context of local, national and global changes and rising unemployment during a decade when there were also repeated calls for the reinstatement of the "traditional " family. Evidence of the changing structure of families is presented in the literature review. Relevant feminist literature concerned with gender relations and the internal dynamics of families are discussed in order to contextualise the data which was collected over a period of nine months between April and November 1997. Methodological, epistemological and ethical questions are raised concerning the value of doing ethnography at home and an argument is made in favour of acknowledging the subjectivities of the women in this research and their invaluable contribution to the finished product, the ethnography presented here. By exploring the notion that a certain form of the family is functional for society, this ethnography suggests that this normative view of the family renders other family structures as deviant or dysfunctional; single-mothers are a case in point. It shows the inadequacy of the idea of the "traditional" nuclear family as a means of explaining how families live in contemporary society, but also highlights the effectiveness of this idea of the family as a means of sustaining female subordination and gender inequality."
Keywords: Sociology.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences