The Importance of Context to the Social Processes Around Material Hardship

Authored by: Colleen M. Heflin

The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415673440
eBook ISBN: 9781315755519
Adobe ISBN: 9781317627401


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Scholarly research into the causes and consequences of social stratification often conceptualize the stratification process as either resulting from individual choices regarding education, employment, or family formation, or as dominated by structural forces outside the individual’s control, such as the neoliberal market-oriented drive towards economic growth. While a focus on one side of the equation can increase our understanding of the stratification process while holding the other side of the equation constant, in reality both individual and structural factors are at play. Therefore, this chapter will examine the role of both individual and state-level factors in predicting household-level measures of well-being—food insufficiency, bill-paying hardships, and home hardships.

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