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From individuals to networks: unfolding complex poverty in rural Ireland

Sergei Shubin


The paper deals with the practices and experiences constraining the lives of rural people in Ireland. It examines the roles of different forms of associations between rural people in the production of poverty using the results of a research project carried out in the village of Ros Muc in Connemara. The paper argues that various links between rural actors define differentiated access to the network resources, which in turn affects poverty and marginalisation. By unfolding multiple connections which create rural problems the article reveals complex and changeable poverty. Starting from the analysis of social stratification systems and exclusionary trends, the paper later examines the locally contested dialectic of polarisation, moral marginalisation and cultural disengagement. The article takes on board the findings from this study to critically re-evaluate certain stereotypes of poverty and to articulate the need for broader understanding of disadvantage.

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