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Evolving Attitudes toward Single Motherhood in the UK and Russia

Project description

Studying the single mom stigma

The incidence of single-parent households is growing. While single moms are the most common, they are also more vulnerable to stereotypes and prejudice. The EU-funded SingleMother project will investigate the negative language being used to describe single mothers and their children in literary and other kinds of texts and documents. It will conduct a comparative analysis of policies towards single mothers in Russia and the UK. The findings will shed light on the cultural attitudes and policies directed toward single motherhood in these two politically different countries. It will also focus on public attitudes toward the variation (unwed mothers, widows, divorced mothers, single mothers by choice) within single mothers as a social group.

Objective

Single motherhood has become a widespread phenomenon within contemporary societies, part of an ongoing revolution in family life. In order to address the outdated and thoughtless language being used to describe single mothers and their children, I will scrutinize the emergence and development of 21st century European cultural attitudes toward single motherhood using desk-based methods. To reconstruct its evolvement since the beginning of the century, this study proposes an innovative multidisciplinary approach, which combines comparative analysis of the UK’s and Russia’s policies toward single mothers with content and multiple approaches to text analysis of non-fiction, children’s and young adult fiction, social semiotics and multimodal discourse analysis of children’s illustrated literature. The overall aim of the proposed research is to advance my career through the completion of the present project, which examines the development and current stage of the cultural attitudes and policies directed toward single motherhood in two politically different countries. This aim is reflected through three primary objectives: to investigate contemporary European policy on single motherhood with focus on the UK and Russia, with attention to public attitudes toward the variation (unwed mothers, widows, divorced mothers, single mothers by choice) within single mothers as a social group; to examine the gendered British and Russian cultural ideologies since the beginning of the century up to the present and expressed through non-fiction and children’s and young adult literature and centered around social and cultural facets: abortion, virginity, affairs with men, pedagogical strategies, bad habits, beauty and clothes, professional career and education, and (re)marriage; to examine how this coding system was adapted to rules and grammar of the visual and, therefore, represented in children’s illustrated texts.

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Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
Address
Trinity lane the old schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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Region
East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00