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Comparative Analysis of Rural Poverty and Inequality in the UK and the US

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ruth McAreaveyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have grappled with the difficulties of conducting comparative research on rural issues in general, and on rural poverty and inequality in particular. Shortall and Warner (2012:5) have observed that “The UK-US dialog is highly illustrative of how seemingly similar situations turn out to be full of complexity and difference.” That complexity and difference can serve to turn researchers away from comparative collaborations. We begin our chapter with an overview of some of the general differences (and similarities) between how rural scholars in the UK and US have examined poverty and inequality in rural areas. Analysis of the two welfare regimes in these countries provides the backdrop for examining specific aspects of deprivation for rural people and communities. Our chapter draws on our experience as members of a trans-Atlantic research group to illustrate the type of organisational infrastructure that can support international, interdisciplinary collaboration. We conclude by offering suggestions for future comparative research. Our chapter progresses earlier debates in rural studies on the challenges of doing comparative US-UK analysis (Shucksmith et al 2012).

Publication metadata

Author(s): McAreavey R, Brown DL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Palgrave Communications

Year: 2019

Volume: 5

Online publication date: 15/10/2019

Acceptance date: 24/09/2019

Date deposited: 20/09/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2055-1045

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd


DOI: 10.1057/s41599-019-0332-8

Notes: Research article collection: Social and Spatial Inequalities: Processes, Impacts and Policies, edited by Renato Miguel do Carmo.


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