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Surviving in a Material World

Surviving in a Material World

The Lived Experience of People in Poverty

Ronald Paul Hill

Cutting through the stereotypes that enable many people to dismiss the needs of the impoverished, Surviving in a Material World provides an eye-opening look at the material lives of the poor in America. Hill’s vivid, detailed narratives allow readers to envision themselves in the real world of the poor, to imagine what it would be like to be faced with their particular circumstances and limited options.

Social scientists have devoted considerable time and effort to unearthing the rationale behind why people buy; yet, very little attention has been paid to the consumption habits of the poor. Over the course of the last decade, Hill has dedicated his research efforts to answering the question: How do various subpopulations among the poor survive in our material world? Hill identifies six of these subgroups, including the “hidden homeless,” homeless families living in shelters, poor children, and the rural poor.

Surviving in a Material World challenges readers to cast aside their biases and to make evaluations about the poor based on a complete picture of their lives. Americans often assume that the poor have access to family structures, teachers, and civic and community organizations that mirror their own. This insightful new book makes clear that such naive approaches fail to reflect the lived world and restrictions the poor endure in the face of the American dream.

Approximately thirteen percent of Americans (35 million people) live in poverty. That rate soars for children: it is estimated that nearly one in five young people lives in a home without adequate income, shelter, food, and health care. Bearing in mind the specific needs of each community, Hill proposes solutions that attack the roots of poverty through an understanding of impoverished groups’ strengths and weaknesses.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04101-4
184 pages
Publication Year: 2001

Ronald Paul Hill is the founding Dean of the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. School of Business Administration and the Rev. John B. Delaunay, C.S.C. Professor of Social Responsibility at the University of Portland.

“A shocking look at the material lives of America’s poor.” — Publishers Weekly

“…[T]hese ‘short stories,’… have practical value as a teaching text, especially for students not yet exposed to the debilitating effects of poverty and the daily struggle necessary to keep destitution at bay. These stories outline, step by futile step, every action that readers anticipate will help the character find a job or earn enough to pay rent or escape violence.” — Ruminator Review

“Ronald Paul Hill seeks to enlighten readers to look beyond stereotypical perceptions of impoverished populations and the causes for their plights. Hill personalizes the poverty experience in his collection of vignettes. . . . It is a call to action in a world where so few have so much, and so many, so little.” — ForeWord Magazine

“Each of his chapters ends with very helpful annotated bibliographies of the best social science literature. . . . These, along with unobtrusive yet rich data woven into his short-story portraits, supply the reader with ample tools to undertake a more analytic social analysis of poverty in America. By putting concrete faces on poverty, Hill elicits our empathy. He dispels sterotypes. Hill’s Surviving in a Material World just might jolt us to ask what we can do to help specific individuals climb out of poverty.” — America

“Readers will reap a better understanding of what it’s like to live in poverty and struggle to satisfy basic needs. Recommended. . . . " — Library Journal

“Hill offers a kinder portrait of the poor. He presents a gallery of earnest people who, while they may make a few mistakes, are generally befuddled by a system that is hard on those without education or family support. . . .” —_Christian Century_

“[A] factual, readable account with much to ponder.” — Provident BookFinder

“Well researched and thoughtfully presented, the book offers a needed ‘inside’ view of the struggle of impoverished people to survive, and to even hope for a better life.” — Social Thought

“Ronald Hill makes an important contribution to the discussion by examining the issue of consumption through the lens of the poor. The strength of the book is the portraits that create a vivid picture allowing readers to vicariously enter the lived experience of the poor and to imagine what it would be like to be faced with similar circumstances and limited options . . . [T]his book is accessible for a wide audience.” — New Theology Review

“[A] disturbingly personal glimpse into the lives of the poor.” — Journal of Children & Poverty

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Surviving in a Material World

The Lived Experience of People in Poverty

Ronald Paul Hill

 Surviving in a Material World: The Lived Experience of People in Poverty
Cloth Edition

Cutting through the stereotypes that enable many people to dismiss the needs of the impoverished, Surviving in a Material World provides an eye-opening look at the material lives of the poor in America. Hill’s vivid, detailed narratives allow readers to envision themselves in the real world of the poor, to imagine what it would be like to be faced with their particular circumstances and limited options.

Social scientists have devoted considerable time and effort to unearthing the rationale behind why people buy; yet, very little attention has been paid to the consumption habits of the poor. Over the course of the last decade, Hill has dedicated his research efforts to answering the question: How do various subpopulations among the poor survive in our material world? Hill identifies six of these subgroups, including the “hidden homeless,” homeless families living in shelters, poor children, and the rural poor.

Surviving in a Material World challenges readers to cast aside their biases and to make evaluations about the poor based on a complete picture of their lives. Americans often assume that the poor have access to family structures, teachers, and civic and community organizations that mirror their own. This insightful new book makes clear that such naive approaches fail to reflect the lived world and restrictions the poor endure in the face of the American dream.

Approximately thirteen percent of Americans (35 million people) live in poverty. That rate soars for children: it is estimated that nearly one in five young people lives in a home without adequate income, shelter, food, and health care. Bearing in mind the specific needs of each community, Hill proposes solutions that attack the roots of poverty through an understanding of impoverished groups’ strengths and weaknesses.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04101-4

184 pages

“A shocking look at the material lives of America’s poor.” — Publishers Weekly

“…[T]hese ‘short stories,’… have practical value as a teaching text, especially for students not yet exposed to the debilitating effects of poverty and the daily struggle necessary to keep destitution at bay. These stories outline, step by futile step, every action that readers anticipate will help the character find a job or earn enough to pay rent or escape violence.” — Ruminator Review

“Ronald Paul Hill seeks to enlighten readers to look beyond stereotypical perceptions of impoverished populations and the causes for their plights. Hill personalizes the poverty experience in his collection of vignettes. . . . It is a call to action in a world where so few have so much, and so many, so little.” — ForeWord Magazine

“Each of his chapters ends with very helpful annotated bibliographies of the best social science literature. . . . These, along with unobtrusive yet rich data woven into his short-story portraits, supply the reader with ample tools to undertake a more analytic social analysis of poverty in America. By putting concrete faces on poverty, Hill elicits our empathy. He dispels sterotypes. Hill’s Surviving in a Material World just might jolt us to ask what we can do to help specific individuals climb out of poverty.” — America

“Readers will reap a better understanding of what it’s like to live in poverty and struggle to satisfy basic needs. Recommended. . . . " — Library Journal

“Hill offers a kinder portrait of the poor. He presents a gallery of earnest people who, while they may make a few mistakes, are generally befuddled by a system that is hard on those without education or family support. . . .” —_Christian Century_

“[A] factual, readable account with much to ponder.” — Provident BookFinder

“Well researched and thoughtfully presented, the book offers a needed ‘inside’ view of the struggle of impoverished people to survive, and to even hope for a better life.” — Social Thought

“Ronald Hill makes an important contribution to the discussion by examining the issue of consumption through the lens of the poor. The strength of the book is the portraits that create a vivid picture allowing readers to vicariously enter the lived experience of the poor and to imagine what it would be like to be faced with similar circumstances and limited options . . . [T]his book is accessible for a wide audience.” — New Theology Review

“[A] disturbingly personal glimpse into the lives of the poor.” — Journal of Children & Poverty