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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Theory, Context and Practice
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In dealing with individual problems and difficulties, critical social work (CSW) is an emancipatory practice which seeks to address social injustice. In this book the author draws on almost 40 years’ experience as a social worker to consider CSW in core areas of practice with children and families.

Fully updated to cover the impact of austerity, Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis, this accessible textbook is essential reading for students, educators and practitioners of child and family social work. It features:

• clearly signposted ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ sections;

• over 10 case studies including those drawn from the author’s experience;

• end of chapter ‘Key points’ summaries;

• further reading suggestions.

With expanded coverage of race and intersectionality, contextual safeguarding and critical child protection, the book champions the development of resilient social workers working towards a more just and equal world.

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Demonstrating the relevance of theory to political and policy debates and practice, this lively and accessible second edition helps students to grasp the real-life implications of social policy theory.

It considers contemporary shifts in welfare ideologies in the context of global austerity and the UK Coalition and Conservative governments (2010 onwards). With a new chapter focusing on critical debates about disability, sexuality and the environment, this textbook also includes fresh reflections on migration, social security conditionality, resilience, social justice and human rights.

Key features include:

• real-life examples from UK and international politics and policy to explain and illuminate the significance of social policy theory;

• key questions for student reflection and engagement;

• and bulleted chapter summaries and annotated further readings at the end of every chapter.

This new edition is a dynamic, engaging and valuable introduction to the key theoretical perspectives and concepts deployed in social policy.

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Basic income has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. This surge in interest stems from growing income disparities, the failures of existing minimum income programmes, shifts in labour market dynamics and numerous global basic income pilot initiatives. Yet realising the successful implementation of a basic income requires a sustained and comprehensive effort. This research contributes to this imperative by presenting an unprecedented microsimulation analysis of the economic viability of introducing a basic income in the Basque Country. The study introduces two economically sustainable and coherent basic income models that not only effectively eliminate poverty but also generate redistributive effects. These outcomes would position the Basque Country as a region with lower income inequality than any European Union (EU) member state. This article underscores the transformative potential of basic income in the Basque Country and offers valuable insights for policy makers contemplating similar initiatives in other regions or nations.

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New Approaches for Young People Affected by Extra-Familial Risks and Harms

EPDF and EPUB available open access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

Based on the findings of the Innovate Project, a four year pan-UK study to identify the processes of innovation in care this book asks: how can services be re-envisioned and transformed through innovation? The authors provide an overview of the project findings and offer insights into the core conditions necessary for socially just and practice-congruent social care innovation.

Essential reading for anyone engaged in social care practice and innovation, as well as those undertaking continuing professional development, this book will aid the reader in developing a conceptual understanding of their experiences and support them in designing more informed responses to the challenges they face.

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This article explores one primary school’s response to addressing poverty experienced by children and families, within a post-Covid context. It draws on a small-scale qualitative case study exploring the role of the Health and Well-being Lead (HWBL) in a primary school in a relatively affluent market town in the south-east of England. A psychoanalytical approach was taken to understand the data drawing on the researchers different situated experiences and knowledges. Participants included children, parents and staff at the school. All parent participants shared their financial challenges, which they referred to as ‘struggles’, with many relating to the impact of the cost of living and adverse unexpected events. Staff raised concerns about how cuts to support services and funding for schools had contributed to and exacerbated challenges due to long waiting lists and a lack of early intervention. The role of the HWBL was recognised by both parents and staff as an important resource within the school. Integral to this role was a non-judgemental and empathic approach, which created an open and trusting relationship with parents. Despite the apparent success of the role, it was evident that the workload and the increase in ‘struggles’ experienced by families was having an impact on both the HWBL and other staff. While we acknowledge that such a role could benefit other schools, we argue that this will only be successful and sustainable if the government also addresses the need for early intervention, funding and the workload crisis in children’s services and schools.

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New Perspectives on Migration and Diversity
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Available Open Access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

It is increasingly recognised that ethnonational frameworks are inadequate when examining the complexity of social life in contexts of migration and diversity.

This book draws on ethnographic research in two UK secondary schools, considering the shifting roles of migration status, language, ethnicity, religion and precarity in young people’s peer relationships. The book challenges culturalist understandings of social cohesion, highlighting the divisive impacts of neoliberalism, from pervasive temporariness and domestic abuse to technologization and neighbourhood violence.

Using Martin Buber’s relational model, the book explores the interplay of ‘I-It’ boundary-making with reciprocal ‘I-Thou’ encounters, pointing to the creative power of these encounters to subvert, reimagine, and even transform social difference. The author provides a pragmatic and ultimately hopeful view of the dynamics of diversity in everyday life, offering valuable insights for social policy and practice.

Open access
Generation, Rent and Reproducing Relationships in London

In a time of increasing social and economic inequality, this book illustrates the precarity experienced by millennials facing both rising rents and wage stagnation. Featuring the voices of those with lived experience of precarity in north-east London, MacNeil Taylor focuses on intimacy, reproduction and emotional labour.

The book widens readers’ understanding of a middle-class ‘generation rent’ beyond those locked out of anticipated home ownership by considering both social and private renters. Situated in a feminist and queer theoretical framework, the book reveals the crucial role of British policy-making on housing, welfare, and immigration on deepening inter- and intra-generational inequality.

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Before the introduction of the household benefit cap in the UK in 2013 the previous mechanism there limited the income of social assistance recipients was the wage stop, operating for four decades between 1935 and 1975. Similar to the benefit cap, the wage stop reflected and reproduced concerns with incentivising unemployed people to labour. This raises questions about why the wage stop was abolished in the mid-1970s when worries about unemployment continued, particularly its intersections with out-of-work benefits. It is widely argued that the abolition of the wage stop was a consequence of lobbying by the Child Poverty Action Group. Drawing upon records held at the UK’s National Archives, this article argues that this is an over-simplified explanation that, first, ignores concerns with the wage stop that pre-dated the Child Poverty Action Group’s criticism of it, including concerns within the assistance boards with its administration. And, second, while by the mid-1970s there was (albeit ambiguous) concern with the impacts of the wage stop, there was a shift in approach that emphasised the supplementation of low wages with social security benefits, rather than forcing social assistance below the assessed needs of households, as being a preferable means of ensuring the incentive to take wage-labour.

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By ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, states committed themselves to ensure an adequate standard of living and social protection to all persons with disabilities, including children. Yet, prior studies showed that children with disabilities are more likely to grow up poor. Existing research has mainly focused on single-country case studies or comparative analyses for low- and middle-income countries. Due to the lack of good quality data, comparative studies on poverty outcomes, its determinants and the poverty-reducing role of social transfers among children with disabilities in high-income countries are largely missing. This article addresses these gaps using the 2017 EU-SILC cross-sectional survey. The results show great differences across Europe in the prevalence of childhood disability, the poverty outcomes of children with disabilities and the poverty-reducing effectiveness of social transfers for them. In only a third of European countries are children with disabilities more likely to live in poor households than children without disabilities. Countries that perform weakly for children without disabilities also perform weakly for children with disabilities. Moreover, social transfers achieve more for children with disabilities in more than half of European countries. The family’s employment participation and social background have the expected poverty-reducing effects for children with disabilities and children without disabilities, though the strength of some effects differs between the two groups within certain geographical regions. However, the income-based poverty indicator disregards the higher costs families with children with disabilities face which underestimates their poverty risk. More research is needed on which poverty indicator accurately reflects the real living standards of children with disabilities.

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The Scottish Government has ambitions to build a new social security system in Scotland with new powers over social security. With the ability to now entirely replace the UK’s Personal Independence Payment, highly controversial for the way it has narrowed entitlement and made the process of applying stressful, the Scottish Government has the opportunity to transform both the experience of disabled people in applying for social security and ensure that what is paid more accurately reflects the costs of disability. However, while significant improvements to the process of applying appear to have been made and these are having a positive impact on access to payment, the Scottish Government’s gradualist approach has also put off by some years more fundamental improvements.

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