Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are shame and poverty closely linked?

Date:
September 5, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A major international study is to examine whether shame is a key part of the experience of being poor. It will look at whether being poor necessarily results in low self esteem or feelings of shame and whether welfare policies are counterproductive when claimants are stigmatized.

A major international study is to examine whether shame is a key part of the experience of being poor. It will look at whether being poor necessarily results in low self esteem or feelings of shame and whether welfare policies are counterproductive when claimants are stigmatised.

Led by Professor Robert Walker from Oxford University, a team of researchers will attempt to answer these questions in a half-a million-pound study, funded by the ESRC and DFID. The research, spanning eight countries, aims to improve our understanding of the impact of poverty to establish whether anti-poverty measures could be applied more effectively.

A team of a dozen researchers will conduct-depth interviews with children and their parents about how being poor affects the way they feel about themselves and the way they are regarded by their own community. They will interview families in UK, Norway, China, India, Pakistan, Uganda, South Korea and Germany. As well as comparing experiences across countries, the study will include differences between rural areas, cities and towns.

Professor Walker, from the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Oxford, said: 'Very little is known about the way people in different countries experience and regard poverty. In the UK, we talk about the "stigma" of poverty. There is evidence of parents going without things themselves in order to buy their child the latest trainers -- an example of ensuring their child does not feel shame at school. However, it has been suggested that, in China, for example, it might be more important for adults, even in poor families, to maintain "face" and to uphold their own sense of dignity. In parts of India and Pakistan it is possible that loss of "family honour" adds to any sense of personal shame.

'This is the first time an academic study has been set up to analyse the importance of shame in understanding the experience of poverty in very different cultures. In China, names of welfare benefit recipients are sometimes posted on neighbourhood notice boards. While, in the UK, we seek to protect individual confidences, judgemental language used in public debates about people in poverty could have the same demeaning effect.'

The research team will analyse whether there is a link between poverty and shame: through its portrayal in literature and film; in-depth interviews with low-income households; and focus groups with middle-class people on their view of poverty.The researchers will carry out a statistical analysis of existing data on poverty in the World Values Survey. They will also explore the language and practices used by the agencies responsible for implementing social assistance and anti poverty programmes to see whether they are more or less likely to make people ashamed of asking for help.

Professor Walker said: 'Language is loaded with all sorts of nuances and subtleties: phrases like 'sink estates', 'hand-outs', 'deserving' and 'undeserving', even 'rights and responsibilities', make judgements on the poor.

We hope this study helps to inform policy development, both in the UK and abroad. Our objective is to use this research to work together with policymakers and agencies to deliver policies that tackle poverty effectively while simultaneously recognising the importance of promoting dignity and a sense of self-respect.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Are shame and poverty closely linked?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164823.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, September 5). Are shame and poverty closely linked?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164823.htm
University of Oxford. "Are shame and poverty closely linked?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164823.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites

Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites

AP (July 25, 2014) Emory University's Center for Digital Scholarship has launched a self-guided mobile tour app to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's Battle of Atlanta. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins