Peter Townsend transformed the conception of poverty, viewing it not simply as lack of income but as the configuration of the economic conditions that prevent people from being full members of the society (Townsend, 1979;  Ferragina et al. 2016  ). Poverty reduces the ability of people to participate in society, effectively denying them full citizenship (as suggested by . Marshall ). Given that there are no universal principles by which to determine the minimum threshold of participation equating to full membership of society, Townsend argued that the appropriate measure would necessarily be relative to any particular cultural context. He suggested that in each society there should be an empirically determinable 'breakpoint' within the income distribution below which participation of individuals collapses, providing a scientific basis for fixing a poverty line and determining the extent of poverty (Ferragina et al. 2016  ).