This article explores the impact of poverty on working men in light of the great diversity of the working poor population. Grounded upon a social constructivist theoretical framework and a comparative qualitative study of the working poor in Israel, this article examines the construction of ‘waged work’ among low income, Israeli working men. To illuminate the complex intersection of masculinity, poverty and waged work with ethnic and cultural categories, this unique study examines four different groups of Israeli citizens, corresponding to the main sub-groups of the Israeli population: secular, ultra-Orthodox, and immigrant Jews and Arab Israeli citizens.
The article has five sections. The literature review briefly introduces the intersection of masculinity, poverty and waged work, presents some background about the social construction of masculinity in the local context and concludes with a short review of the definition of ‘working poor’. The context section explains concisely the background of this study, including the uniqueness of the Israeli labour market and some short references to the different sub-groups in the study. The methodology section specifies the theoretical framework, and the data gathering and analysis methods. The findings section presents an analysis of emerging themes. Finally, the discussion elaborates on the interrelation between masculinity, poverty and waged work in light of the great diversity among the working poor and the uniqueness of the Israeli labour market.