About the project

illustration på föräldrar i olika situationer
Illustration: Linnea Blixt

This project investigates representations of single parents and their family lives, as they figure in different text genres and media. We are interested in exploring whose perspective and whose voice is centered. Is it those of mothers? Fathers? Or (grown) children? We are also interested in aspects of loneliness, ideas of "the other parent", and definitions of lone parenthood. 

About the project

The project explores how the concept “lone parent” gains meaning in Sweden in the twenty-first century. With mediated representations of lone parents (parenthood, parenting) in news media, life writing, film, and television as its empirical basis, the project investigates and theorizes contemporary understandings of this familial phenomenon.

Who are lone parents?

Demographic, political, technological, and legal changes in the past two decades have effects on who is a lone parent in Sweden, and under what circumstances. Numbers of lone-parent families depend on, inter alia, social developments as diverse as migration, divorce/separation and re-constituted families, and developments in Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

Currently, twenty-five per cent of all children in Sweden have parents who do not live together. Hence, experiences of lone parenthood are widespread in contemporary Sweden. However, while the lone parent (especially the lone mother) is often seen as part of the “everyday” of family lives in Sweden, they also figure as a “special case” that counters family/couple norms, and in ways that are heavily linked to gender, class, ethnicity, and age.

Interdisciplinary studies yield new knowledge

The project contributes important new knowledge about how lone parents are conceptualized and represented, and how social realities of lone parents gain visibility in different genres in contemporary Sweden. As we move forward with the project we are also able to compare representations of lone parents across genres of text, and see which kinds of lone parent lives feature in them.

The project is interdisciplinary and explores lone parenthood via perspectives from cultural studies, social science, and gender studies.

Different parts of the project

Last modified: 2023-05-30