Policy Sciences

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 163–199

A poverty of distinction

From economic homogeneity to cultural heterogeneity in the classification of poor people
  • Michael Thompson
  • Aaron Wildavsky


Homogenizing the poor, treating them as a shapeless blob, is not only dehumanizing but also makes them candidates for a single set of public policies. We propose to show, instead, using cultural theory, that there are different types of poor people, who follow different strategies in coping with or overcoming their condition.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Thompson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aaron Wildavsky
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Management Research and DevelopmentUniversity of WarwickUK
  2. 2.Technology Policy UnitUniversity of AstonUK
  3. 3.Political Science Department, Graduate School of Public Policy, and Survey Research CenterUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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