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A Trajetório do Pensamento Científico Sobre Pobreza: Em Direção a Uma Visão Complexa

  • Ana Luiza Machado de Codes
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    Este trabalho se propõe a contribuir para o estudo da pobreza ao delinear a trajetória do pensamento científico sobre o tema. A questão veio a se constituir em objeto de investigação científica a partir da Revolução Industrial, quando a preocupação em medir sua dimensão e compreender as suas causas passou a atrair a atenção de pesquisadores e governantes. Desde então, as acepções sobre o problema têm evoluído, em direção a uma compreensão mais complexa sobre a matéria. À noção inicialmente cunhada - a da "subsistência", que definia a pobreza com base no critério da renda necessária para a sobrevivência exclusivamente física do indivíduo - somaram-se outras formulações mais abrangentes. Um primeiro passo em relação à ampliação do conceito veio com a formulação das "necessidades básicas", que instaurou a perspectiva de que a pobreza tem várias faces, manifestando-se por intermédio de diversos tipos de carências. A partir daí, desdobraram-se outras formulações, como a da "privação relativa", centrada na noção de que a pobreza deve ser definida socialmente, e a da "privação de capacidades", que se caracteriza por desenvolver uma reflexão de caráter mais abstrato sobre a natureza do objeto, remetendo a discussão aos campos da justiça social, da política, das desigualdades e da subjetividade. Tal evolução conceitual não significa que as formulações mais antigas tenham sido descartadas pelas mais recentes. Observa-se, ainda nos dias de hoje, a coexistência de todas elas. Entretanto, nota-se que os atuais debates sobre o tema tendem a enfatizar a idéia de que se trata de um fenômeno multidimensional e complexo, que concerne a situações em que as necessidades humanas não são suficientemente satisfeitas e em que diferentes fatores estão interligados. The present research aims to contribute to the area of poverty studies by describing how the scientific concepts of poverty have gradually developed towards the idea that it is a complex and multidimensional problem, which involves interrelated social and economic factors. Poverty became a scientific issue by the time of the Industrial Revolution, when researchers and governments got interested in understanding its causes and in knowing how to measure it. The first idea to be developed was the "subsistence" concept of poverty. It defined those who were poor by estimating the necessary amount of money to guarantee just the survival of one?s body. The first step towards broadening the discussion came along with the concept of "basic needs". It brought the idea that multiple dimensions comprise poverty, and they manifest by different kinds of lacks faced by the poor people. Since then, other formulations have arisen, such as the "relative deprivation", centered in the notion that poverty is a socially defined problem, and the "capacity deprivation", which develops the discussion about the nature of poverty in a more abstract level, involving themes such as social justice, politics, inequalities and subjectivity. This conceptual evolution does not mean that the recent ideas have discarded the old ones. All of them coexist nowadays. Nevertheless, the actual discussions about poverty tend to emphasize the complex and multidimensional nature of the phenomenon, characterized by situations in which human necessities are not satisfied and by the influence of many interrelated social and economic factors.

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    Paper provided by Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA in its series Discussion Papers with number 1332.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1332
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