Maria Parente

Family and welfare in Southern Europe. The phenomenon of single-parent families

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The Mediterranean welfare system, and in particular the Italian one, gives great importance to the institution of family, but without organizing a system of services that really takes care of it. The Italian familistic welfare state provides more investments in the pension system rather than in care services, and in family policies. The family nucleus has always been considered as a private sphere that is in charge of the reproductive work without external help. Italian society has profoundly changed with the spread of new types of family nucleus, including the single-parent family. This one represents an emblematic example of the difficulty of social policies in meeting the needs of families that are often at risk of poverty like single-parent ones. The aim of this work is to highlight the gap between what the Mediterranean welfare system proposes to do in the area of family policies and what it actually manages to implement, especially in the case of single-parent families.


  • welfare
  • South Europe
  • family
  • single-parent
  • familism


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