Social class and conversion capacity: deprivation trends in the Great Recession in Ireland

November 30, 2018

Social Indicators Research, Vol. 140, November 2018,  Issue 2, pp 549–570

In this paper, we draw on Irish SILC data to examine the roles of social class, non-class risk groups and state policies in influencing enforced material deprivation as Ireland moved from a period of economic boom through deep recession and on to early recovery. We also employ Sen’s capability approach to explore the extent to which certain social risk groups differ in their capacity to convert social class-differentiated resources into increased capability in relation to avoiding material deprivation. The findings refute the notion of polarization either across time as a result of recession or as a result of more vulnerable social risk groups experiencing more pronounced social class differences. Instead, the impact of recession on social class and social risk group operated mainly in an additive manner with each having a relatively independent impact on deprivation. The exception was lone parents who were less able to convert the benefits of higher social class position into reduced deprivation levels.