Single Mothers Overcoming Difficult Life Situations: The Implementation of the Subsidiarity Principle in Siberia

By Svetlana Sablina.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 5, 2015 $US5.00

This paper presents a mutual correlation between global and local trends: originating from western philosophical comprehension, the subsidiarity principle appears to occur in Russia on an urban community level. This paper analyzes three relationship types that can occur between a subsidiary nonprofit organization and its clients (single mothers): family type (paternalistic), friendship, and partnership. We hypothesized that the ability to successfully overcome a difficult life situation is predetermined by the creation of motivation in single mothers when short-term social assistance is available in the crisis period. Research about the practices of overcoming difficult life situations suggests the use of the biographical (narrative) method, focusing on subjective interpretations of experienced life events. This study was conducted in 2010–2012 in Novosibirsk, a large city in Siberia, Russia. Life narrative participants (n=29) were single mothers who gave birth to a child, were not supported by various institutions and participants, and asked one of the nonprofit organizations for assistance. We argue that, despite the variety of tactical steps that help single mothers overcome a crisis situation, the mothers’ involvement in the relationship with the subsidiary organization increases the probability of success and stability in the long-term. The findings are useful for both social workers/administrators and local governments and can help them better understand, advise, and assist single mothers.

Keywords: Subsidiarity, Single Mothers, Difficult Life Situations, Biographical (Narrative) Method

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 9, Issue 3-4, March 2015, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 393.225KB)).

Dr. Svetlana Sablina

Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Rectorat, Associate Professor, Sociology Department, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation