We are hard-work focused here in the United States, other countries have a different vision of work. This is a great opportunity for students to think about the work and family divide in a different manner.
There are millions of people living alone. What support systems do they have in place? How does being on their own impact them politically, socially and economically?
These are some of the questions Bridgewater State University sociology Professor Kimberly Fox plans to explore next year, thanks to a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award. She will travel to Sweden to study at the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University.
Inspired by other BSU faculty and students who have previously received Fulbright awards, Fox put in the work and submitted her own application.
“I am really excited to receive it,” she said.
Fox’s project will examine the importance of welfare support, social connections, and the workplace of those living alone in their mid-to-later lives.
She will examine the needs and experiences of aging populations living alone, such as the reliance on extended social networks, supporting their own physical and psychological health, and maintaining their households without the assistance of others.
Fox hopes to compare social policies, workplace conditions, and social supports of people in Sweden compared to those in the United States.
“People in Sweden retire earlier because they have safety nets, they have universal health care, and their retirement benefits are based on citizenship, not work. In the United States people often work longer because of the need for health insurance and retirement benefits,” Fox said. “By understanding how people live alone can really help us understand how others view the workplace.”
As a Fulbright Scholar, Fox will take what she’s learned and bring it back to the BSU classroom.
And while this is a great personal experience, she is most excited about sharing the data with the BSU community.
“We are hard-work focused here in the United States, other countries have a different vision of work. This is a great opportunity for students to think about the work and family divide in a different manner,” Fox said.
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