Absolute Poverty in EuropeInterdisciplinary Perspectives on a Hidden Phenomenon

Absolute Poverty in EuropeInterdisciplinary Perspectives on a Hidden Phenomenon

Helmut Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger, and Clemens Sedmak

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781447341284

Publisher: Policy Press


This book examines absolute poverty in Europe, which is at the moment fairly neglected in academic and policy discourse. It opens with conceptual and methodological considerations that prepare the ground for an application of the concept of absolute poverty in the context of affluent societies and analyses shortcomings of social statistics as well as possibilities to include highly vulnerable groups. This includes thoughts on ethics of research in this particular field where people live under severe circumstances and research can make a difference. The book sheds light on crucial dimensions of deprivation and social exclusion of people in absolute poverty in affluent societies: access to health care, housing and nutrition, poverty related shame and violence. After conceptual and practical issues, the book investigates into different policy responses to absolute poverty in affluent societies from social policy concerns to civic organizations, e. g. food donations, and penalisation and “social cleansing” of highly visible poor. The book finally frames this discussion by profound ethical considerations and normative reasoning about absolute poverty and its alleviation, how it is related to concerns of justice/injustice as well as human dignity. Furthermore, it questions the power and importance of human rights and their judicial protection in regard of persons in absolute poverty.

Table of Contents

1 Absolute poverty in Europe: introduction

Helmut P. Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger and Clemens Sedmak

Part One Conceptual and methodological challenges

3 Measures of extreme poverty applied in the European Union

Jonathan Bradshaw and Oleksandr Movshuk

Part Two Key issues for the absolute poor

7 Housing deprivation

Patricia Kennedy and Nessa Winston

Part Three Policy responses to absolute poverty in Europe

15 Penalising homelessness in Europe

Guillem Fernàndez Evangelista

Part Four Ethical perspectives on absolute poverty in Europe

18 Justice and absolute poverty

Gottfried Schweiger

Conclusion: responding to the dark reality of absolute poverty in European welfare states

Helmut P. Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger and Clemens Sedmak

End Matter