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In this article, I will focus on the role of place in shaping social inequality. The central question is whether and how the spatial concentration of poverty in certain areas or neighborhoods exacerbates the poverty problem by affecting the life chances of people negatively. In looking for an answer, I will base myself mainly on existing studies and insights. The intention is more to present a start for further reflection and research than to present a conclusive answer. The focus is on post-Fordist welfare states. To denote areas of concentrated poverty, I will use from now on the term poverty pocket to stress that the focus is on areas where poverty is reigning and not on areas that are only designated as such in relative terms. Even in countries such as the Netherlands and Germany, where social housing policies have prevented a rigid social segregation (see also Van Kempen & Bolt, 1997 [this issue]), there are neighborhoods in the main cities that deserve the label poverty pocket because of the sheer number of poor people without any prospects of socioeconomic progress who are living there. Although their living conditions may look favorable compared to those living in the ghettos of the American cities or to the past, this does not refute that they are captives of their local situation and are subjected to the same kind of mechanisms. Yet, this does not exclude a place- and time-bound character of the effects. The entanglement of economic restructuring and welfare state policies gives the poverty problem another face in terms of employment opportunities and state dependency compared to the past, whereas in the American situation, the fusion of poverty and race gives the poverty problem an emotional and moral tension that is absent from the European situation. Nonetheless, looking for more general mechanisms and processes, I will try to abstract from these differences. Although important insights are derived from American studies, the argument will undoubtedly convey much of the European condition. It already starts with the first subject, the relation between poverty and social citizenship, a relationship that forces itself on us in the context of the European welfare states. Then I will look at the messages the literature on poverty contains with respect to the mechanisms that affect the life chances of people in poverty pockets negatively and on the question of whether these mechanisms can be held responsible for the occurrence of so-called locality effects. In the argument, the delivery of welfare plays an important role. Finally, following Dahrendorf (1979, 1987) in his conceptualization of life chances, I will consider the impact of the poverty pocket environment on people's lives more closely.
POVERTY AND SOCIAL CITIZENSHIP
It is hard to understand the poverty problem in post-Fordist welfare states without looking at the way the state takes care of its citizens. In a developed welfare state such as the Netherlands in 1995, 43% of the gross national product was spent on government consumption and on social insurance and social security. This is about 80% of total government expenditures (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek [CBS], 1996a, p. 77). Although we need more information about allocation policies (e.g., whether state care is provided on an universalistic or means-tested base) to get an insight into the redistributional effects of these spendings, the mere existence of these kinds of policies already makes clear that we cannot judge the welfare of households against their earned income and inherited capital alone. In post-Fordist welfare states, transfer incomes, as well as public provisions in kind and cash, play an important part in providing households with the means to lead their daily lives.
Although the consensus on economic exclusion and social marginalization as the kernel of the poverty problem in post-Fordist welfare states is considerable, the discussion generally focuses on economic exclusion. The process of social marginalization is also mostly seen in this light, that is, both as a consequence and a cause of an impeded access to the job market. Yet, given the changes in the employment structure and the importance of welfare state provisions as an income source for households, it seems only natural to take the access to public provisions into account as well. Economic restructuring, as exemplified in deindustrialization and the globalization of the economy, and the subsequent loss of especially lower skilled jobs made a growing number of people dependent on unemployment and social security benefits. Also, the flexibilization of the production process and deregulation increased dependency on state transfers. Temporary and part-time employment became a common good in Western countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 1996, p. 192). Particularly in the Netherlands, part-time work has become a key feature of the labor market, with 37% of the employed labor force working part-time in 1995 (CBS, 1996b). Also, the overall share of flexible contracts is relatively high, counting for about 11% in 1995 (Den Broeder, 1996, pp. 48ff.; OSA, 1996, p. 112). Figures about the amount of jobs with a tenure less than 1 year form another indicator for the growing flexibilization of the labor market: In the Dutch situation, their share of 24% in 1991 meant a doubling in 6 years. As in France, temporary employment arrangements have been the main contributor to employment change (OECD, 1996, p. 8).
The growing appeal of social security in the 1980s and afterwards, both in terms of numbers of people dependent on it and in terms of expenditure (Einerhand, Kerklaan, Metz, Siegelaer, & Vliegenthart, 1995; OECD, 1996; VNO-NCW, 1995), reflect the growing number of people for whom there is no employment. Yet, it does not provide information on the impact of the flexibilization process. In the Netherlands, the duration of unemployment assistance (RWW) offers a key. In 1993, 33% of the people receiving an RWW benefit were entitled to it less than a year and 21% less than half a year (CBS, 1995, p. 17). In addition, the amount of people with a higher or university education among the unemployed rose from 23% in 1985 to 48% in 1994 within nearly 10 years (Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau [SCP], 1996, p. 106). Still another indicator forms the more general finding of the OECD (1996, p. 17) that temporary job spells are more likely than permanent ones to follow a spell of unemployment or another temporary job. These findings sustain the idea that the role of social security has changed. Instead of being a last resort for people who are not able to earn a living by unforeseen events or illness, the social security system seems to become more and more a safety net for the precariousness of wage labor and appears to have become an essential part of the restructuring process.
This shifting involvement with the state bureaucracy forms another argument to broaden the scope in studying poverty. It makes clear that, to judge the life prospects of people, besides their access to the labor market, their social rights and whether they can use them in practice have to be taken into account. The latter is not only a matter of the individual ability to find his or her way through the often complicated rules of the welfare system but also of the ways in which organizations and officials responsible interpret and deliver social rights. This puts the focus on what Baldock (1993, p. 25) calls the level of the "organizational forms." According to Baldock, differences in organizational forms between welfare states are considerable and not always concomitant with the distinctions made on the basis of political commitments and attentions. Important for this argument are differences in the welfare mix (i.e., the contribution of the start to welfare production and delivery in different welfare segments) and differences in levels of decentralization because they touch directly on the central issue of the existence of local disparate life chances.
The controversy this issue evokes cannot be understood quite well without regarding the idea of "social rights" and their claims of universality and continuity. T. H. Marshall, whose concept of citizenship has influenced the general conceptualization of citizenship rights thoroughly, already states that social rights cannot contain the same welfare outcomes for everyone. To understand his argument it is necessary to look at his idea of citizenship. According to Marshall (1965, p. 92), citizenship is a status bestowed on those who are full members of a community. To understand the content of this status, he distinguishes between civil, political, and social citizenship, of which the latter is the latest one and the fundament of the welfare state. Social citizenship refers to the right to enjoy a minimum standard of living, according to the standards prevailing in the society concerned, including housing, health, education, welfare, and social security. The equality implied is the equality of opportunity (Marshall, 1965, p. 118). This means that some economic or material inequality according to ability is accepted as inherent to the welfare state. Yet, Marshall also points to the existence of other, more hidden and unintended inequalities that are due to uncertainties inherent to the conceptualization and delivery of social rights. The first uncertainty Marshall mentions regards the definition …