Dialogues in Human Geography 6 (1):50-68 (2016)

Michael Merry
University of Amsterdam
Whilst media and political rhetoric in Britain is sceptical and often outright damning of the (presumed) morals and behaviours of the White marginalized poor, our aim is to explore the conditions under which successful communities are nevertheless built. Specifically, we examine the features of community and stress its importance both for belonging and bonding around shared norms and practices and for fostering the necessary bridging essential for interacting and cooperating with others. In considering what it means to foster a community that acts as a breakwater against the tides of stigma or disadvantage, we pay special attention to what we will call enabling conditions – essential features that communities either can or should be able to provide or that exist independent of communities and are indispensable for accessing opportunities in the wider society. We detail the dynamics of White poverty and exclusion before turning our attention to possible responses to these challenges. In searching for viable responses to stigma and disadvantage, we compare some different typologies of community presently available to the White poor in Britain and examine whether these are sufficient to satisfy the enabling conditions associated with more robust forms of group membership.
Keywords virtue  poverty  Britain  community  working class  working poor  social exclusion  solidarity  resistance  economic exploitation
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