London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Poverty: Polish young people’s concerns about their social future

Author(s) Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, B. & Zalewska, A.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
The transformations of the 21st century encourage a modern understanding of citizenship – not only the in relation to the state approach but also in relation to an active practice. Changes (e.g. minority rights, movement of people, global economy) cause different social problems (social stratification, exclusion, discrimination, xenophobia etc.). Active citizenship requires dealing with current social problems that may occur alongside changes happening in the modern world. In this paper we present how young people in Poland understand poverty and if they are optimistic about it in the future. Results of a survey and focus groups with young people show that young people’s understanding of poverty is complex. Younger pupils identify it more often as an absolute poverty, while older as subjective and relative category related to readiness to regular life. Older students perceive poverty as a reason of social exclusion. The causes of poverty, independent of students’ age, are related to personal rather then external factors. In students’ opinion education and hard work create chances to avoid poverty. Optimism about poverty in the future decreases with age. The crucial transition point in this understanding of poverty and its’ reasons, as well as optimism in relation to this, occurs between 11 and 14 years.

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