This book draws on evidence to demonstrate how paying greater attention to the psychological and social consequences of poverty provides new insights into how poverty is perpetuated. It reveals how, irrespective of whether people live above or below a designated poverty line, in cultures as diverse as rural India, Uganda and Pakistan, urban/suburban UK, China, Norway, and South Korea, the ability to participate in society as a full and recognized citizen is largely contingent on having the material resources deemed normal for that society. When such means are not available, the common response is to save face by withdrawing from society, thus limiting opportunities to exit poverty and helping to perpetuate its cycle. Yet society in turn plays its role in persistently evaluating others against dominant norms and expectations and prioritizing certain explanations of poverty over others. Hence shame in relation to poverty is co-constructed, a dynamic interaction of internally felt inadequacies and externally inflicted judgements. The volume offers unique insights into the ‘poverty–shame nexus’ in each of the societies studied. To do so it draws on: analysis of popular media such as film and literary works to examine the cultural conceptions of poverty and shame and their interaction; the narratives of people living in poverty; and the perceptions and attitudes of the general public and the media.