Extending Understanding of Chronic Poverty Dynamics: Towards a Post-disciplinary Approach


This paper begins with a critique of recent tendencies to define policy-relevant poverty research as either 'quantitative' (the household consumption approach) or 'qualitative' (the participatory approach). I then explore the ways in which 'quantitative' and 'qualitative' approaches to chronic poverty are presented in Hulme and Shepherd's recent World Development paper, concluding that there is scope for a more integrated and theoreticallybased approach to the actors, structures and dynamics involved in the social construction, reproduction, and reduction of chronic poverty, which could be usefully pursued in a multi- (or even post-) disciplinary fashion. This would take the concept of 'time' seriously and require deeper dialogues between and among 'quantitative' and other researchers around the deep knowledge assumptions involved in poverty research. The paper makes a start in this direction using the 'qualitative' technique of conceptual analysis to develop an analytical framework which takes account of three different levels of analysis (person, livelihood figuration, big structure) and three conceptions of time (calendars, rhythms, histories). Using another qualitative technique (secondary analysis of anthropological case study material from Sierra Leone, Brazil and Haiti) I use the framework to explore the long-lasting poverty of four people living in four different livelihood figurations in three different in/security regime contexts. A comparison of these cases throws up some important features of chronic poverty which are not currently high on research or policy agendas. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the implications for research approaches to chronic poverty and for praxis more generally.


Extending Understanding of Chronic Poverty Dynamics: Towards a Post-disciplinaryApproach, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 25 pp.

Extending Understanding of Chronic Poverty Dynamics: Towards a Post-disciplinary Approach

Published 1 January 2003