Shame and (“managed”) resentment: Emotion and entitlement among Israeli mothers living in poverty

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Of the range of negative emotional states, shame is commonly found to characterize experiences of people living in poverty. However, relatively little attention has been directed toward exploring other emotions that accompany the shame. Not exploring other emotions, the possibility that working-class mothers go through a struggling emotional experience in relation to their experiences of how authorities validate their belonging, is left out of scope. Exploring the notion of resentment creates a conceptual space for considering this possibility, as it flags the importance of belonging and entitlement for mothers living in poverty. I analyze these issues here, by applying “translocational positionality” which stresses how people take up positions relating to experiences of (non-) belonging and entitlement which are informed by struggles over inclusion and resources. As such, it stresses the links between struggles of belonging and struggles for securing access to resources. It affords the opportunity to identify the emotional/affectual dimension of struggles that would otherwise be implicit at best. A Resentment focused analysis of structured interviews conducted with 90 mothers, from seven ethno-national categories, living in poverty in Israel enabled me to analyze issues of belonging and entitlement as part of a continuous struggle for resources, pitched against welfare practices which ostensibly support mothers and families in need, but in fact apply means-tested and other exclusionary principles to leave mothers without the assistance that would protect them from shame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-799
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

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  • belonging
  • class relations
  • entitlement
  • resentment
  • shame
  • translocational positionality


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