Author: Claudia Corsetti, University of South Wales

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Labour Markets

Session Three: 4.30pm – 6pm

Set against the backdrop of changing labour market relations and shifts in gender roles in the public sphere, this paper investigates the conflicting ambivalences and moral dilemmas experienced by working lone mothers as they attempt to negotiate the complex and elusive articulation of ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces.  Their narratives will be analyzed in terms of how working lone mothers manage their lives whilst caring for their children and themselves within their relational networks of family and friends and against the backdrop of their specific social locations. 

The paper highlights how caring activities at home are affected by working lone mothers’ employment situations and working conditions. Ultimately, the paper brings to the fore how the prioritization of the ethics of the world of paid work over that of informal care is transforming the type and quality of care experienced by some mothers and their children in the private domain.  Furthermore, whilst acknowledging the limited scope of a qualitative research study of this kind, the paper aims to engage in wider debates relating to the imbalanced and contradictory ways in which an ethic of work and an ethic of care have been reshaped in contemporary society to redefine the culture and practice of a ‘work-life balance’.

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