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“If I Won the Lottery, I Don’t Think I’d Move”: Challenging assumptions with a Phenomenological Investigation of Relative Deprivation

Croft, Michael (2019) “If I Won the Lottery, I Don’t Think I’d Move”: Challenging assumptions with a Phenomenological Investigation of Relative Deprivation. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Relative deprivation, the perception that one’s social standing is unfairly worse off than some appropriate referent, is described in the literature as being characterised by anger, dissatisfaction and resentment. The value of this concept to academics and policy makers is that broadens the paradigmatic scope of poverty research beyond the financial and economic to the subjective, spatial and intersubjective. As such, census-level measures of relative deprivation have become the de facto means of understanding deprivation and informing interventions in many western countries. Using a phenomenological approach, the current study aims to investigate the lived experience of individuals residing in an area described by such measures as among the 10% most deprived in England. Semi-structured interviews followed up by Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis sought to understand the extent to which deprivation experience can be characterised by aversive emotions, and the extent to which census-level deprivation measures are meaningful to the individual’s whose lives they describe. Several conclusions were drawn that will hopefully inform future deprivation researchers to challenge assumptions inherent in deprivation literature and engage in more transparent, reflexive practices.

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