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Do Networks Help People to Manage Poverty?
Perspectives From the Field

Social support networks can provide much-needed emotional, material, and financial help for people living in poverty, yet little is known about how social capital is created and augmented within such networks. Further, these networks can be eroded by sustained poverty, increasing the social exclusion and isolation that poor people already experience in other sectors of their lives.

In the May 2020 volume of The ANNALS, special editors Miranda J. Lubbers, Hugo Valenzuela García, and Mario Luis Small assemble an international group of scholars to examine the role of social networks in the day-to-day subsistence of families and individuals suffering economic hardship and analyze the many, highly complex ways in which networks are related to poverty. The volume presents studies that explore social ties and sharing networks, the organizations that foster them, the conditions that shape them or undermine them, and the ways in which networks are limited when their participants are under continuous or extreme economic pressure. Drawing upon new, fieldwork-based evidence, the volume suggests policies to strengthen and mobilize both the social support networks of vulnerable populations and the welfare systems on which the poor depend.

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