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Representing poverty and attacking representations: Perspectives on poverty from social anthropology

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  • Maia Green

Abstract

This article considers the potential contribution of social anthropology to understanding poverty as both social relation and category of international development practice. Despite its association with research in communities and countries now considered poor anthropology has remained disengaged from the current poverty agenda. This disengagement is partly explained by the disciplinary starting point of anthropology which explores the processes though which categories come to have salience. It is accentuated by the relationship of anthropology as a discipline to the development policy and the research commissioned to support it. An anthropological perspective on poverty and inequality can shed light on the ways in which particular social categories come to be situated as poor. It can also reveal the social processes through which poverty as policy objective becomes institutionalised in development practice and in the social institutions established to monitor, assess and address it.

Suggested Citation

  • Maia Green, 2006. "Representing poverty and attacking representations: Perspectives on poverty from social anthropology," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1108-1129.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:7:p:1108-1129
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380600884068
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Green, Maia & Hulme, David, 2005. "From correlates and characteristics to causes: thinking about poverty from a chronic poverty perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 867-879, June.
    2. Robert Chambers, 2001. "The World Development Report: concepts, content and a Chapter 12," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 299-306.
    3. Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi & Ruhi Saith & Frances Stewart, 2003. "Does it Matter that we do not Agree on the Definition of Poverty? A Comparison of Four Approaches," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 243-274.
    4. Anna McCord, 2003. "An Overview of the Performance and Potential of Public Works Programmes in South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 049, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    5. Carvalho, S. & White, H., 1997. "Combining the Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Poverty Measurement and Analysis. The Practice and the Potential," Papers 366, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buckingham, Kathleen, 2009. "Deep roots in culture, shallow roots in nature: Identifying sustainable bamboo management challenges for China and the implications for multidisciplinary research," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51468, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Shaffer, Paul, 2013. "Ten Years of “Q-Squared”: Implications for Understanding and Explaining Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 269-285.

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