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Poverty, aspirations and wellbeing: afraid to aspire and unable to reach a better life – voices from Egypt

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  • Solava Ibrahim

Abstract

Poverty is usually associated with powerlessness, vulnerability and above all failure of aspirations. Poor people might not be able to achieve their capabilities, but this does not mean that they do not have aspirations they wish to fulfil. The concept of aspirations has been explored in the fields of economics, anthropology, psychology and philosophy, but not extensively in development studies. The aim of the paper is to present a conceptual framework for analysing aspirations based on the capability approach and to apply a new methodology to articulate these aspirations. Using Egypt as a case study, the voices of the poor reveal the interrelationships between failure of aspirations, which not only leads to a downward spiral, but also to an intergenerational transfer of aspirations’ failure. The paper concludes that identifying and addressing the causal relationship between poverty, aspirations and wellbeing could be the starting point for effective and more relevant development policies that help poor people to achieve their aspired but unfulfilled capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Solava Ibrahim, 2011. "Poverty, aspirations and wellbeing: afraid to aspire and unable to reach a better life – voices from Egypt," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 14111, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:14111
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    File URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/gdi/publications/workingpapers/bwpi/bwpi-wp-14111.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elise Klein, 2014. "PsychologicaL Agency: Evidence from the Urban Fringe of Bamako," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp069, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    2. Pelenc, Jérôme, 2014. "Développement humain responsable et aménagement du territoire. Réflexions à partir de deux réserves de biosphère périurbaines en France et au Chili
      [Responsible Human Development and Land-Use Plann
      ," MPRA Paper 56094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Pelenc, Jérôme, 2014. "Combining the capability approach and Max-Neef’s needs approach for a better assessment of multidimensional well-being and inequalities: a case study perspective with vulnerable teenagers of the regio," MPRA Paper 66277, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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