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The political and social construction of povertyCentral and Eastern European countries in transition$
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Serena Romano

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447312710

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447312710.001.0001

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Poverty in transition

Poverty in transition

(p.63) THREE Poverty in transition
The political and social construction of poverty

Serena Romano

Policy Press

Chapter three addresses the first of the three major events described in the book: the economic and political transition of 1989. It will be shown how the collapse of communism in CEE countries allowed poverty to be seen and discussed for the first time. The emergence of novel aspects of poverty and social exclusion, especially linked to ethnic and class categories, is also examined. Then the way in which new post-communist governments had to move from a first “emergency” situation (characterized by a first round of generous social benefits intended as a social compensation for the population) to an austerity phase (differentiated by the progressive restriction of eligibility conditions) will be examined. The wide use of unemployment, early-retirement and family allowances, however, reveals that CEE countries continued to rely on indirect forms of income support rather than on a proper strategy to fight poverty, the construction of which was postponed to a second stage of reform.

Keywords:   poverty in transition, 1989 political transition, social compensation, emergency, poverty

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