Talking ‘bout poor folks (thinking ‘bout my folks): Perspectives on comparative poverty in working class households

BATTY, Elaine and FLINT, John F (2013). Talking ‘bout poor folks (thinking ‘bout my folks): Perspectives on comparative poverty in working class households. International Journal of Housing Policy, 13 (1), 1-16.

Batty-accepted-Talking_‘Bout_Poor_Folks_(Thinking_‘Bout_My_Folks)-Perspectives_on_Comparative_Poverty_in_Working_Class_Households.pdf - Accepted Version

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/14616718.2012.724588


This paper explores concepts and narratives of comparative poverty articulated by residents of six working class neighbourhoods in Britain and examines how individuals’ assessments of self were influenced by comparisons to other social groups. The paper presents empirical findings to suggest the need for more nuanced sociological and policy understandings of working class experience and alternative explanations for quiescence with inequality. Our findings suggest disconnections between research emphasising relative deprivation and stigmatisation, a drive to evaluate economic status and the centrality of a comparative relational framework for perceptions of poverty; and the actual lens’ through which many working class individuals conceptualise their circumstances. The denial of a social comparative paradigm was generated by circumstances being doxic (or taken for granted), the rejection of a ‘poverty’ label, the importance of self-trajectories and the ambivalent and nuanced relationships between material wealth, happiness and moral worth. However, a limited comparative gaze upon more affluent groups was contrasted with strong narratives of respectability and legitimacy juxtaposed with those groups deemed not to adhere to these working class values. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for housing policy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The attached document is : an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in [include the complete citation information for the final version of the article as published in Vol. 13, (1), 1-16 p. International Journal of Housing Policy, 2013 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number: 10.1080/14616718.2012.724588
Depositing User: Sarah Ward
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2013 14:34
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2015 07:54

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