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The language of poverty: an exploration of the narratives of the poor

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  • Federica Misturelli
  • Claire Heffernan

Abstract

Within the development discourse, the narratives of the poor are a well utilized rhetorical tool to describe poverty and its causes. However, narratives can also reveal the beliefs and ‘world-view’ of the narrators. To explore this influence, the authors applied a discursive approach, to deconstruct the narratives of 101 slum dwellers in Kibera, Nairobi. The results revealed that poverty was largely attributed to external constraints, beyond an individual's control. Despite wanting a better life, participants held low expectations for the future. Hopes and dreams were placed on their children. While risk and uncertainty was a constant theme, large differences were found between genders as to the aspirations for the future. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/sd.437
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Sustainable Development.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May/June)
Pages: 206-222

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Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:19:y:2011:i:3:p:206-222

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Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-1719

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Keywords: narratives ; urban poverty ; discourse analysis ; poor livestock keepers ; language ;

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