Bringing Politics Back into Poverty Analysis
Why Understanding of Social Relations Matters More for Policy on Chronic Poverty than Measurement
This chapter argues that most poverty research is working with a model of knowledge from the natural sciences: that is to say, there are objective facts to be discovered; methods for uncovering these facts improve over time as better techniques are discovered and employed; and, predictive theories that can be universally applied across all societies will eventually emerge. However, this approach is doomed to disappointment, because the focus is on measurement and on the characteristics of individuals and households with very little attention to the structural processes that move people in and out of poverty. It highlights similarities between the new asset-based approaches and research during the 1970s on agrarian differentiation and class formation.
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