Poverty is a political concept. As explained in Chapter 1, it does not just describe a state of affairs, it also implies that some action must be taken to remedy it. What is more the political actions that have been taken to remedy it, in Britain as elsewhere, have had a cumulative effect in reshaping and recreating the concept of poverty itself. Implicit in the development of both definitions and policies, and the interrelationship between them, however, are assumptions about the circumstances and experiences of the victims of poverty. The politics of poverty is also the politics of the poor — both who is poor and why they became poor or remain so; and behind these political debates are ideological views of the poor — images and attitudes that govern how we approach the processes of definition, measurement and policy development.
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