Conceptual notes

Conceptual notes are a series of short papers on the key themes of the PSE: UK research, themes which go to the heart of current policy debates on poverty and social exclusion. The papers provide a short guide to both current research knowledge and the contribution the PSE: UK research will make. They are aimed at A level, Scottish highers and undergraduate level. Themes to be covered include parenting, child poverty, economic resources, well-being, social exclusion, community and family support, mental health, health and disability, public and private services, housing and the local area, employment and economic participation, political and civic participation, social participation, intra-household poverty, crime and harm, and older people.

The views expressed in these conceptual notes are those of the author(s). The papers are published under the Creative Commons licence and you may copy and distribute them as long as the Creative Commons licence is retained and attribution given to the original author(s).


Conceptual notes list

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Conceptual notes series

Nick Bailey and Mike Tomlinson

This conceptual note explores work, paid and unpaid, looks at how the PSE research can examine the impact of the trend to an economy based on higher levels of low pay and insecurity and the impact of this on the extent to which paid work reduces poverty. The PSE also explores the quality of work in terms of aspects such as job security, control, flexibility, physical and social environment, anti-social hours and overall satisfaction.

Sarah Payne

This conceptual note explores the complex relationship between poverty and social exclusion and mental health problems in terms of how we might measure poor mental health, and in how we might assess the direction of causality: does poverty, or social exclusion, cause poor mental health, or does poor mental health lead to poverty and social exclusion?

Demi Patsios and Paddy Hillyard

This conceptual note examines ways to operationalise and analyse living standards in the UK for the whole population, not just the poor, using PSE: UK survey data. It asks how the term ‘living standards’ should be defined, which components and aspects should be covered, and how this relates to concepts of ‘welfare’, subjective and objective.

Esther Dermott

Improved parenting is currently often advocated as the best route to improve outcomes for children and, explicitly, as a better alternative than reducing poverty. Past academic research has found strong links between poverty and children’s achievement and, operating both separately and relatedly, links between parenting and outcomes.

Gill Main

There is a great deal of academic debate around the measurement of child poverty. The PSE: UK research provides the opportunity to gain a more nuanced picture of child poverty, drawing on three measurement approaches that can be investigated individually and/or combined to form composite measures. These approaches include income poverty, deprivation and social exclusion.

Demi Patsios

This conceptual note considers the measures specifically for older people that could be used in the PSE: UK survey. It covers: the question of whether to include specific items and activities aimed at measuring deprivation in older people; the extent of social networks and social and financial support; specific health problems associated with older people that cause difficulties with activities in daily life; and the extent and provision of unpaid informal care.

Glen Bramley and Kirsten Besemer

Support for most local services, in the sense of seeing them as being essential, remains very high and has in some cases increased since 1999. This is despite several decades of the promotion of ideas about privatisation of services and the current Coalition government’s austerity measures that have resulted in major reductions in spending on local public services, which will have a significant impact on both the level and quality of provision.

Mary Daly, Grace Kelly, Esther Dermott and Christina Pantazis

Intra-household poverty has generally been conceptualised as a matter of gender inequality, with differential access to resources within the family/household leading to underestimation of the extent of poverty generally, and hidden or invisible levels of poverty within the family/household. Household-level surveys struggle to capture the unequal (and in many cases unfair) distribution of income within the household or family; the money management within the households; and the known willingness of mothers to forego their own material needs in favour of others, especially of their children.

Mary Daly

How poverty and/or low income are mediated and affected by family considerations are considered. These could be through practices, exigencies or condition, resources, processes and relations.

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