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Motherhood, Poverty, and Education. The case of Naples

TitleMotherhood, Poverty, and Education. The case of Naples
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLicursi S, Pascuzzi E
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Start Page153
Date Published10/2019
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsmediterranean welfare system, motherhood, schooling, social inequity

This article describes how the educational role of poor mothers, both in terms of socialization of their children and in supporting them in schooling, is socially constructed, understood and played in Southern European societies. In this context the social welfare is of familistic type and the childcare system is not sufficiently developed. The analysis is based on the findings of two research projects, carried out in Rione Sanità, a poor neighbourhood in the historic centre of Naples, in Southern Italy. Here, poverty affects a large part of the population, concentrated in some inner areas and in big peripheral suburbs. Within the ‘Neapolitan survival model’, mothers/women play a key role in all contexts. They carry a heavy burden of responsibilities, both inside and outside the family. In 2012 a first case study was carried out to investigate which are the welfare provisions from voluntary organizations responding to the educational needs of children and adolescents living in this neighbourhood. In 2016 a second research was conducted on families’ poverty and social relations. Based on the selection of 15 life stories of poor mothers and on information from in- depth interviews to key informants, the article outlines frequent links among motherhood, poverty and education, thus highlighting three key phases of life: socialization backgrounds, transition to motherhood and the experience of mothering.