Geographia Polonica (2007) vol. 80, iss. 1

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Poverty and household economic practices in Nowa Huta, Poland

Alison Stenning, Dariusz Świątek, Adrian Smith, Alena Rochnovska

Geographia Polonica (2007) vol. 80, iss. 1, pp. 7-24

Abstract

Drawing upon research in Nowa Huta (Kraków, Poland), the paper investigates theeconomic conditions of households and individuals in this large post-socialist housing estate,where the context of social exclusion and poverty emerges from the introduction of market-basedmechanisms. Starting from the characteristics of households and individuals, the paper identifiesthose living ‘at risk’ of poverty. It explores different labour market strategies, investigates the relationshipbetween employment and poverty and describes the role of employment in supportinglivelihoods, especially for households ‘at risk’ of poverty. The paper then examines the materialassets and social networks which households have at their disposal and the way these are used tosupport and develop their livelihoods in everyday life. In addition, the role of citizenship assets,e.g. pensions, child, unemployment and other social benefits, as protection from poverty and socialexclusion is explored. Finally the paper shows how this variety of assets and institutions worktogether in everyday life and create a range of geographies in which households and individualsoperate.

Keywords: post-socialist housing estates, Nowa Huta, labour market strategies, social networks, material assets, poverty

Dariusz Świątek [swiatekd@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warsaw: Poland