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Never the twain shall meet: A memetic analysis of poverty perceptions

Misturelli, F. and Heffernan, C. (2009) Never the twain shall meet: A memetic analysis of poverty perceptions. Development Policy Review, 27 (2). pp. 167-183. ISSN 0950-6764

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7679.2009.00441.x


Poverty, as defined within development discourse, does not fully capture the reality in which the poor live, which is formed also by values and beliefs specific to a given culture and setting. This article uses a memetic approach to investigating the reality of poverty among pastoralists and urban dwellers in Kenya. By distinguishing the semantic space and the cultural context in which the definitions are framed, it enables the researcher to make sufficient generalisations while also recognising the differences between cultures. The results demonstrate how pastoralists and urban dwellers conceptualise poverty differently particularly in regard to causes. Further, the article suggests that development actors often utilise a Western construct which does not entirely reflect the values and beliefs of the poor.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8914
Uncontrolled Keywords:Politics, narratives, meme

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