Living with Poverty and Dependence in England

Living with Poverty and Dependence in England

By Katherine Smith

This book addresses the effects of poverty on multiple interdependencies in kinship, neighbourly and friendship relations. It explores how interpersonal relationships are made, unmade, recuperated or ended by people who are living with poverty in one of England’s most deprived neighbourhoods. 

EPUB, 250 Pages


June 2025

£25.00, $35.00

PDF, 250 Pages


June 2025

£25.00, $35.00

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About This Book

This book explores ethnographically moments when the issue of poverty and ‘being poor’ feature in everyday lives and interactions in Harpurhey. The book begins by situating the production of poverty outside the everyday lives of people in Harpurhey to better focus on its lived effects.
The chapters that follow provide a nuanced understanding of what it means for people in Harpurhey to live with poverty. Each chapter provides intimate ethnographic insights into the ways in which relationships are forged, maintained, ended and re-emerge in the context of the lived experience of poverty, and in the knowledge that welfare reforms, public spending cuts and social and political stigma will remain enduring issues for them into the future. The relationships between persons and between persons and the state that are explored in this book are necessarily unstable and contingent. The expression of personal needs, circumstances, moral frameworks and imaginations of the future in an ever-changing post-welfare landscape are at the centre of analysis.
Whether individuals are navigating the interstices of the state for (largely) financial support or the intricate interpersonal relationships and obligations they have with each other for moral, social and financial support, the viability of the person to take control over their own assets and futures, and to be recognised in so doing, is paramount to the sociality and moral reckoning of everyday life. By exploring the everyday lives of people who are managing to make ends meet whilst living with poverty, this book asks how poverty and multiple interdependencies are experienced, negotiated and used in the maintenance, dissolution and recuperation of dynamic kinship, and neighbourly and friendship relations of support.


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Author Information

Dr Katherine Smith is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She is author of Fairness, Class and Belonging in Contemporary England (2012) and co-editor of Extraordinary Encounters: Authenticity and the Interview (2015).


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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Workings of Poverty and Dependence on Everyday Life; Chapter One: Talking Money in Harpurhey; Chapter Two: Concealment and Revealment in The Reckoning; Chapter Three: Arguments of Equivalence; Chapter Four: (In)Dependence on the State; Chapter Five: Temporalities of Dependence; Conclusion: The Politics of Concealment and Revealment, and the Limits of Fairness in Everyday Life


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