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Transitions to parenthood in EuropeA comparative life course perspective$
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Ann Nilsen, Julia Brannen, and Suzan Lewis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428646

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428646.001.0001

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Comparing Transitions To Motherhood Across Contexts

Comparing Transitions To Motherhood Across Contexts

(p.41) Four Comparing Transitions To Motherhood Across Contexts
Transitions to parenthood in Europe

Ann Nilsen

Maria das Dores

Siyka Kovacheva

Janet Smithson

Policy Press

The chapter takes biographical case approach and compares selected cases of mothers from Bulgaria, Norway, Portugal and the UK. In order to give 'thick descriptions' of cases several layers of empirical context are brought to bear on the analysis of individual cases. Special attention is paid to the transition to motherhood in relation to other life course transitions such as school leaving, gainful employment, moving out of parental household. The life lines are analysed and set in context of national age based transitions patterns and other structural characteristics. The interpretations and reflections provided by the interviewees about the course of their lives are analysed and compared. The analysis demonstrates that social class, level of education and income are among the important aspects affecting this transition but that other dimensions such as family support can make the impact of material circumstances different across contexts and countries.

Keywords:   gender, motherhood, life course, transition, youth, adulthood, social class, life lines

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