THE MEANINGS AND EXPERIENCES OF INCOME INEQUALITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Daiva Skučienė, Gintarė Kaminaitė

Abstract


The issue of income inequality is on the recent public agenda. Mass media and academics focus on the negative consequences of income inequality. Despite the analyses of reasons and consequences in national academic literature, the personal experiences and meanings of income inequality in everyday life weren’t analyzed. This analysis is important not only for the academic purposes but also for the social policy. The patterns of income inequality and its impact on everyday life can help policy makers to better ground the proposals for the reduction of income inequality. On the other hand, it allows to envisage shortcomings or benefits for the different social groups of such proposals.
The goal of this paper is to analyze the experiences and meanings of income inequality on everyday life of people. A. Schutz methodological approach allows to define the model of subjective understanding of income inequality. Previous researches provided findings that the evaluation of income inequality is different within social groups. Thus, the sample of informants was based on these findings and defined by education, gender, residential place and age. A total of 24 informants, selected by mentioned criteria, participated in the survey. The survey was implemented in 2016. The semi-structured interview was used for the survey. The findings were analyzed by content analyses, using axis coding approach. The findings of the research revealed that subjective meanings and experiences of income inequality in everyday life include the labour market, the capacities to consume, the ignorance of income inequality and its evaluation in relation with corruption. The experiences and meanings of income inequality are mainly related with the feeling of injustice in the labour market. The injustice in the labour market is related with the inequality of high wages among managers and subordinates, among private and public sector, among foreign and national capital enterprises employees, and etc. The injustice in the consumption field as a consequence of income inequality is perceived among families with children or retirees, who try to balance their expenses and income every day. The dissatisfaction and disappointment are accompanied with the desire of higher state regulation.

Keywords


meanings of income inequality, experiences of income inequality, everyday life.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SD-17-15-2-06

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789