Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

The issues involved in poverty, inequality and social justice are many and varied, from basic access to education and healthcare, to the financial crisis and resulting austerity, and now COVID-19. Addressing Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, our list both presents research on these topics and tackles emerging problems. A key series in the area is the SSSP Agendas for Social Justice.

This focus has always been at the heart of our publishing with the view to making the research in this area as visible and accessible as possible in order to maximise its potential impact.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Poverty, inequality and social justice, we aim to address the following goals: 

Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

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The Person Behind the Giving
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With unparalleled access to some of the world’s most reflective and thoughtful philanthropists, this book explores the philanthropic journeys of 48 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) to uncover the person behind the giving.

Their stories reveal the difference between the meaning they experience and the impact their philanthropy makes. Through the lens of philanthropic psychology, the authors examine how philanthropists experience their giving and the psychological challenges they need to overcome.

This fascinating book provides a unique guide for new and experienced philanthropists and their trusted advisers and fundraisers in the creation of more meaningful philanthropic experiences.

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This article examines the practice of fraudulent informal loans given to vulnerable groups in Mexico, and connects these malpractices to the structural (re)production of poverty. The scams resolve around fake credit companies offering loans to people in need on the condition that they pay a deposit, after which contact is broken. After locating scams within broader discussions on vulnerability, poverty and credit, an empirical study is presented based on 35 interviews with victims. Results are presented regarding the reasons why people fall in these traps, how they are cause and consequence of vulnerability, and the difficulties of prosecution. The conclusions reflect on the role of such traps within the production of poverty, the relative invisibility of these crimes, and the topic of legal protection and prosecution.

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Urban Ageing and Spatial Justice

Available open access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

How can we design, develop and adapt urban environments to better meet the needs and aspirations of an increasingly diverse ageing population? 

This edited collection offers a new approach to understanding the opportunities and challenges of creating ‘age-friendly’ communities in the context of urban change. Drawing together insights from leading voices across a range of disciplines, the book emphasises the urgent need to address inequalities that shape the experience of ageing in urban environments.

The book combines a focus on social justice, equity, diversity, and co-production to enhance urban life. Exploring a range of age-friendly community projects, contributors demonstrate that, despite structural obstacles, meaningful social change is achievable at a local level.

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Available Open Access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

This book examines the idea and practice of co-creation in public services. Informed by practical action, lived experience and research from 10 countries across Europe, including the UK, it shines new light on the theory and reality of co-creation by conceptualising it in terms of human rights, social justice and social innovation.

Focusing on human dimensions, the book presents real life examples in public services as diverse as social care, health, work activation, housing and criminal justice. It also highlights the ways digital technologies can accelerate or hinder co-creation.

The book confronts a paradox at the heart of co-creation: standardisation and inflexibility in planning and resourcing, or ‘concrete-ness’, counters the ‘elasticity’ required to sustain co-creation in complex contexts.

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Research on food insecurity and food aid has focused overwhelmingly on the experiences of women, particularly mothers, with little focus to date on exploring single men’s experiences. This article will explore the experiences of single men across two independent studies of food insecurity and food aid, based on an ethnographic study undertaken with predominantly male clients of food aid schemes in north-east England and a photo-elicitation study undertaken with single men experiencing food insecurity in Scotland. The article will explore how austerity measures heightened men’s levels of food insecurity and need for food aid, and how men’s perceptions of gender roles and stigma influenced where and when they asked for support. The article argues that adverse life events, such as homelessness, contribute to heightened levels of food insecurity. In addition, the social role of food aid will be explored, with participants using sites of food aid not just for physical nourishment but also as a space to connect. Finally, the article will explore the participants’ insights into high male attendance at sites of food aid, often blaming other men’s lack of basic budgeting and cookery skills so as to justify their own deservingness. The article seeks to contribute to addressing a gap in the literature in relation to men’s experiences of food insecurity, and concludes with recommendations on how to support men at risk of using food aid and experiencing food insecurity.

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Despite their significant dedication to the remarkable economic growth, the poverty rate of older adults in Korea remains the highest among developed economies. This study utilises the Shapley decomposition to analyse the effects of socio-economic changes and recently developed welfare system on poverty heterogeneity between older old and younger old. The findings indicate that the poverty rate for younger old improved from 47.9 per cent in 2003 to 32.3 per cent in 2020, whereas the rate for older old increased from 49.8 per cent to 60.1 per cent. Specifically, the contribution-based public pension presented smaller anti-poverty effects on older old than younger old, because it was implemented later, therefore, older old could not accumulate adequate contribution periods. In addition, means-tested benefits had limited effects in reducing the poverty risk for the two old groups, as they are not well-targeted and provide insufficient benefits. Furthermore, older Korean adults are compelled to participate in the labour market to make ends meet, and earned income significantly mitigated the poverty risk of younger old. Based on these findings, this article argues that the government needs to implement more inclusive fiscal measures to alleviate the poverty threat of older old.

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This article presents the development of a measure to assess the prevalence and patterning of multidimensional child poverty in South Korea. The first goal of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to reduce poverty in all its dimensions, and countries are increasingly developing their own measures of multidimensional poverty. This flourishing of different measures presents challenges for international comparisons. The article applies an internationally-validated method of assessing multidimensional poverty to demonstrate its suitability for use in a high-income Asian economy. Multidimensional child poverty is assessed by combining data on child material deprivation with their household income. Using data from the 2018 Korean National Children Survey, we show that child material deprivation is higher (15%) than income poverty (12%). When measured using a combined measure of material deprivation and income, around one in every three children in Korea were found to be either poor or vulnerable to poverty. These findings show that the official monetary poverty measure on its own may understate the percentage of children unable to afford necessities in Korea, as envisioned by international targets like the SDGs. In terms of policy, analysis of individual deprivations suggests that a combination of in-kind benefits such as vouchers for leisure activities or education and asset-building programmes as well as cash transfers are needed for tackling child poverty.

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This article examines the past, present and future of income maintenance schemes in Korea. Historically, income security schemes have been built on the idea of work-centred social insurance supplemented by social assistance. This approach was based on the premise of full employment. While current schemes have achieved institutional completeness and have contributed to alleviating poverty and inequality, they have exhibited limitations in responding to the qualitative shifts of capitalism, leading to welfare blind spots. Various alternatives have been proposed, such as universal basic income (UBI), which aims for equality, and residual Safety Income (SI), which aims for efficiency. The objective of this study is to validate the effects of basic income proposals and SI as alternative income maintenance schemes emerging in Korea. We simulated and compared the poverty alleviation and income redistribution effects of the two alternatives using data from the Survey of Household Finances and Living Conditions (2019~2021). The effects of poverty alleviation and income distribution were determined by analysing the hypothetical changes in absolute and relative poverty rates, as well as the Gini coefficient. The efficiency of benefits was assessed as the ratio of the amount used to reduce the poverty gap out of the total benefit amount. The study found that while SI appeared cost-effective in addressing absolute poverty, UBI was also effective in addressing relative poverty and income inequality.

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Public awareness of social welfare policies, along with their increasing political influence, has led to growing interest in welfare attitudes. However, there has been insufficient consideration of the effects of different cohorts and social exclusion groups on attitudes to welfare in Korean society, as well as the dynamics of these effects. This article specifically examines changes in attitudes to welfare in South Korea with a focus on cohort and social exclusion perspectives. First, the study found that recent attitudes towards redistribution highlight generational perspectives on intergenerational conflict rather than a focus on social exclusion. Second, cohorts associated with democratisation and the information age displayed reluctance towards tax increases but held favourable views regarding redistributive policies and universal welfare. Third, socially excluded groups tended to favour selective welfare and tax increases. Finally, the current elderly generation, represented by the War-industrialisation cohort, exhibited relatively negative attitudes towards the welfare system compared to subsequent generations. These findings underscore the necessity for expanding government policies to enhance welfare understanding and experiences among the post-war generation and socially excluded groups. Additionally, it is crucial to address generational distributional justice and to broaden discussions on solidarity.

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