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The narratives of Hardship: The new and the old poor in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis in Europe

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Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages18
JournalThe Sociological Review
Early online date25 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


This paper examines poverty and hardship in Europe after the 2008 crisis, using household interviews in nine European countries. A number of findings deserve highlighting. First, making a distinction between ‘the old poor’ (those who lived in poverty before as well as after the crisis) and ‘the new poor’ (thosewho fell into hardship after the crisis), we show that hardship is experienced quite differently by these groups. Second, the household narratives showed that while material deprivations constitute an important aspect of hardship, the themes of insecurity and dependency also emerged as fundamental dimensions. In contrast to popular political discourse in countries such as the UK, dependency on welfare or family was experienced as a source of distress and manifested as a form of hardship by participants in all countries covered in this study.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Hulya Dagdeviren, Matthew Donoghue, and Lars Meier, ‘The narratives of hardship: the new and the old poor in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis in Europe’, The Sociological Review, vol. 65 (2): 369-385, May 2017. The final, definitive version of record is available online at doi: Published by SAGE.

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