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From a qualitative survey among “solo parents”, this article describes commonalty in the exercise of parental roles and the definitions of childhood in these families. Becoming a “solo parent” induces different ways of taking on parental roles according to the resources available to the parent. For the parents with the most educational capital and with high employability (“marketable” qualifications, occupation compatible with home life, etc.), this experience can offer an opportunity to diversify their social roles and reinvest in areas that had been neglected owing to an unbalanced division of parental work. By contrast, among mothers with less educational capital and lower employability, a greater emphasis on their maternal role was observed. To prove their parental abilities, solo fathers invested in their role more than in the past, without renouncing their career. Besides these differences, a blurring of the parent and child spheres was observed. In particular, when a family’s economic resources were low, care practices in the parent-child pair were found to be diluted, or even reversed.

  • solo parenting
  • social norms
  • childhood
  • inequalities
Marion Charpenel
Sandrine Garcia
Alexandra Piesen
Jessica Pothet
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Uploaded on on 30/11/-0001
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