Lone Motherhood in Twentieth-Century Britain: From Footnote to Front Page

Paperback | May 1, 1998

byKathleen Kiernan, Hilary Land, Jane Lewis

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During the 1990s lone mothers reached the top of the political agenda, viewed as both a drain on public expenditure and a moral threat. What has been missing from the debate is an understanding of how we have got to where we are. This timely new study, by three leading experts in the field, sets out first to investigate the demographics of lone motherhood - how the pathways into lone motherhood have changed, and whether the changes of the last quarter of a century are as dramatic as they appear. Second, it looks at thewider context for the changes in lone motherhood in terms of ideas about marriage, and the changes in the construction of the never-married mother, from victim in the 1950s to parasite in the late 1980s. Finally, it examines the way in which policies have defined the problem of lone motherhood overtime and the way in which lone mothers have been treated with regard to housing, social security, and employment. The study concludes that there is little possiblility of putting the genie back in the bottle in terms of reducing the number of lone mothers - efforts to do so by reducing public expenditure on them may be effective, but at the expense of the children involved. Instead, the authors urgepolicy-makers to change focus again, and pay more attention to investing in children.

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During the 1990s lone mothers reached the top of the political agenda, viewed as both a drain on public expenditure and a moral threat. What has been missing from the debate is an understanding of how we have got to where we are. This timely new study, by three leading experts in the field, sets out first to investigate the demograp...

Jane Lewis is at All Souls College, Oxford. Kathleen Kiernan is at London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:May 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198290691

ISBN - 13:9780198290698

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Changing Demography of Lone Motherhood3. The Debate about the Law Affecting Marriage and Divorce in Twentieth Century Britain4. Constructions of Unmarried Motherhood in the Post-War Period5. Lone Motherhood: Characteristics, Circumstances, and Consequences6. Social Security and Lone Mothers7. Housing and Lone Mothers8. Lone Mothers, Employment, and Child Care9. Conclusions

Editorial Reviews

`a fascinating and meticulous text ... This is a superb piece of work ... The three authors, all distinguished researchers in the sociology of the family and family policy, have used their combined expertise to produce a book which is likely to be a classic ... This book should be requiredreading for all social workers in training, for their educators and their practice managers and, dare I say it, for the politicians, social commentators and media persons who pronounce with such certainty on the fecklessness of women without men when, in reality, their characterstics as a socialgroup are as varied as the circumstances in which they live.'Siobhan Lloyd, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Aberdeen, British Journal of Social Work, vol 29, 1999