The impact of poverty and inequality on the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa
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In Part 1 of this themed working paper, an account is provided of low income lone mothers’ portrayals of dignity in relation to their lives. A key objective of the project was to explore what ‘dignity’ means to low income lone mothers in South Africa in the context of their lives. This provides a framework for Part 2 of this themed working paper which examines lone mothers’ accounts of the impact of poverty and inequality on their dignity. Inevitably, the issues of poverty, inequality and social security arise in this first part of the paper but the primary focus is on dignity per se. As will be seen in the following sub‐section, the notion of ‘dignity as principle’ is prominent within the jurisprudence literature wherein dignity is regarded as indefeasible human worth. However, dignity can also be considered as a psycho‐social phenomenon – ‘dignity in practice’ (e.g. Budowski, 2005). At times these two notions of dignity can seem disconnected (e.g. Phillips, 2011). Drawing from discussions with low income lone mothers on the subject of dignity, the extent to which there is any apparent connection between 'dignity as principle' and 'dignity in practice' can be explored.