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What is poverty? A diachronic exploration of the discourse on poverty from the 1970s to the 2000s

Misturelli, F. and Heffernan, C. (2008) What is poverty? A diachronic exploration of the discourse on poverty from the 1970s to the 2000s. European Journal of Development Research, 20 (4). pp. 666-684. ISSN 0957-8811

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09578810802464888

Abstract/Summary

Poverty is central to the concept of development. However, the relevance given to particular aspects of poverty has changed over the years and with it the manner in which poverty has been represented. The following paper explores how concepts of poverty within the 'poverty discourse' have altered over a 30-year period. A diachronic analysis is performed to explore changes in the topical and thematic composition of the definitions, in addition to the manner in which poverty has been 'framed'. The results illustrated that poverty was variably framed across the decades ranging from a 'neutral' fact to a highly contested state with little agreement over causes and consequences. Nevertheless, the relational analysis revealed the de-problematization of poverty over time. The finding has clear implications for development praxis: poverty needs to be 'attacked', but the root causes, at least from a discursive perspective, may be ignored.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8913
Uncontrolled Keywords:poverty; discourse; development; diachronic analysis; the poor

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