Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie vol:88 issue:2 pages:169-181
The rise of poverty in Western societies can be explained by three socioeconomic processes: the dualisation and polarisation of the labour market, the dismantling of the welfare state, and the increase of new types of households like single parents and singles. These processes are interrelated and they lead towards different mechanisms of social exclusion. This article stresses that not everyone excluded from the labour market, welfare provisions, or social networks has to be regarded as excluded from society. By developing survival strategies in different economic systems (market, reciprocity, associative redistribution) poor households try to escape from social marginalisation. The whole of their survival strategies is analysed in five different settings in and around Brussels. It is argued that these areas offer very different opportunities for social integration and community development, essentially related to the heterogeneity of the environment and the social cohesion of the population concerned.