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Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK: Vol. 2The Dimensions of Disadvantage$
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Glen Bramley and Nick Bailey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447334224

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447334224.001.0001

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Poverty, social exclusion and civic engagement

Poverty, social exclusion and civic engagement

(p.179) Seven Poverty, social exclusion and civic engagement
Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK: Vol. 2

Eldin Fahmy

Policy Press

Although political equality is a basic democratic principle, citizen participation in political and civic life remains highly unequal. This chapter sheds new light on social inequalities in political participation by examining the relationship between poverty and participation in political and civic life in the UK today. Whether using subjective measures, low income, deprivation, or the combined PSE approach, this chapter shows that poverty is associated with lower levels of participation in politics and lower levels of associational activity amongst UK adults. Civic and political participation is known to be strongly associated with positive perceptions of political efficacy. This chapter confirms these findings. Moreover, it shows that people experiencing poverty are also somewhat less positive about their ability to influence local decisions and political issues than better-off respondents. Taken together these findings point to the continued exclusion of people experiencing poverty from full participation in political and civic life. Beyond voting, political participation is an uncommon experience for many in the UK. Reducing inequalities in participation (including socio-economic inequalities that underpin them) should be prioritised in ensuring that rights to an equal say in political decisions are realised in practice.

Keywords:   Political participation, civic engagement, poverty, social exclusion, social capital

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