Children making sense of economic insecurity: facework, fairness and belonging

Butler, Rosemary 2017, Children making sense of economic insecurity: facework, fairness and belonging, Journal of Sociology, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 94-109, doi: 10.1177/1440783316630113.

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Title Children making sense of economic insecurity: facework, fairness and belonging
Author(s) Butler, RosemaryORCID iD for Butler, Rosemary
Journal name Journal of Sociology
Volume number 53
Issue number 1
Start page 94
End page 109
Total pages 16
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-03
ISSN 1440-7833
Keyword(s) Childhood
Summary This article contributes to our understanding of how children cope with economic insecurity in affluent nations. Based on research with children and adults in regional Australia, it argues for the importance of cultural narratives in making sense of children’s strategies to cope with financial hardship. Drawing on Goffman’s concept of ‘facework’, and recent analysis by Pugh, it analyses the complex forms of facework that children use to manage situations of economic insecurity and shows how such practices may be anchored in cultural narratives of ‘fairness’. Goffman’s ‘facework’ refers to the expressive order required to save face, a term used to signify how we participate in a social regime, particularly when we perform unexpected feelings. In this article, the author develops a theoretical framework to analyse three types of facework used by children from low-income families in this Australian context, and coins these practices ‘going without’, ‘cutting down’, and ‘staying within’. Through such facework, children sought to maintain inclusion and uphold dignity, practices which were increasingly difficult amidst rising inequality. This raised contradictions in belonging and acceptance among others, particularly for children from refugee backgrounds.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1440783316630113
Field of Research 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
1608 Sociology
2002 Cultural Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation
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