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CBEES Advanced seminars

Estonian single mothers under neoliberalism: feminities and formal and informal strategies for livelihood.

Speaker: Marja Saar


This presentation brings together two most significant topics as found in the interviews with Estonian single mothers. The first topic involves family and proper enactment of being a mother and a woman in neoliberal and post-socialist Estonia. This research strand engages with the theories of both post-socialist masculinities and feminities and suggests that applying the concept of neoliberal feminities in the context of Estonia might be in some ways more appropriate. The empirical part will review how Estonian single mothers used neoliberal discourse in order to make sense of their gender identity as well as their role as a mother.

The second strand of research takes a more mobility based approach and argues that all the while a lot of literature is stressing on the right to be mobile, we should start to talk about the right to stay put. This research has mostly been developed by rural studies focusing on people at Western countryside’s not willing to move. However, my research will make a point that the right to immobile can also apply internationally and should be discussed increasingly in terms of countries which have a migration culture. The empirical part will focus on different groups of Estonian single mothers: the migrants to Nordic countries, the ambivalents (usually people that have engaged in back and forth movement and are unclear about their future), the movers with the intention to return and finally the stayers. In addition, I identify multiple strategies which the stayers use in order to establish their livelihood.

Biographic note

Maarja Saar is a post-doctoral research in Södertörn University at the department of sociology. In addition, she is working for University of Bristol as a research associate. Her post-doctoral project is called “Livelihood strategies and sense of control/agency among Estonian single mothers”. The project in Bristol is called “CASSPIN: Comparative Analysis of Social Spaces in Post-Industrial Nations”.

Time and place

09 September 13:00-14:30

Higher seminar

Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University, find us

Arranged by

The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University


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