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Acting in Adversity – Rethinking the Causes, Experiences and Effects of Child Poverty in Contemporary Literature


  • Thomas Feeny and Jo Boyden (RSC/QEH)


Ever since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), children – and the condition of child poverty in particular – have been increasingly pushed to the forefront of development agendas. However, the rhetorical commitment in ‘putting children first’ has not always been translated faithfully into practice, and the research base still suffers from an overall tendency to prioritise adult perspectives that often bear little resemblance to the actual experience of the child, and may even serve to obscure the real dimensions of their poverty further. Many of the conclusions drawn around child poverty are the result of generalised statistics, or simplistic theoretical assumptions riven with cultural and conceptual biases. There is still far too little understanding of how a child experiences poverty, what impoverishment means to them, or how their perceptions/priorities interact with those of local communities and the agendas of international agencies. Above all, there is a need to recognise the resilience and contribution of children as social and economic actors in the struggle against poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Feeny and Jo Boyden (RSC/QEH), "undated". "Acting in Adversity – Rethinking the Causes, Experiences and Effects of Child Poverty in Contemporary Literature," QEH Working Papers qehwps116, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps116

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