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Lives on edge

everyday practices of people experiencing poverty in disadvantaged areas
PhD ceremony:Mr E. (Erik) Meij
When:September 09, 2021
Start:11:00
Supervisors:prof. dr. T. (Tialda) Haartsen, prof. dr. L.B. (Louise) Meijering
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences

Growing socio-spatial disparities in Western countries is a worrying trend which harms opportunities for a better future, particularly for people experiencing poverty. While the causes for growing socio-spatial inequalities are connected to global economic currents, the polarizing consequences are experienced in the context of everyday life, by ordinary people in cities, towns, and streets.

'Lives on Edge' aims to comprehend the ways in which people experiencing poverty are affected by increasing socio-spatial inequalities in the context of their everyday lives. Based on three ethnographic case studies in the city of Groningen (the Netherlands), the city of Calgary (Canada), and the rural region of the Groninger Veenkoloniën (the Netherlands), this thesis paints a detailed picture of the everyday practices of people experiencing poverty in these disadvantaged areas and how local socio-spatial developments relate to their experiences. The ethnographic evidence from these case studies demonstrates that participants feel that their everyday practices are increasingly marginalized and oppressed with respect to their social and spatial surroundings. An exacerbating factor in this marginalizing process is the tenacious focus of local socio-spatial developments on appearance, rather than focusing on achieving better prospects for vulnerable residents. As a result, the lives of people experiencing poverty are increasingly on edge.