Revisiting the definition of poverty

Nyasulu, Gerald (2010) Revisiting the definition of poverty. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 12 (7). pp. 147-158.

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Abstract

Defining poverty, how it could be measured and alleviated have always been contested issues. Over the decades, different authors have proposed different definitions and measurement methods that have been applauded for a while before being discarded as inadequate. This paper examines some definitions of poverty in detail and argues that the way poverty has been defined over the years has influenced the kind of poverty alleviation initiatives that have been designed and implemented. The paper further argues that these poverty alleviation initiatives have been temporal and unsustainable because they have been trying to solve a wrongly defined concept. The prevalent definitions of poverty would best be described as fruits of poverty, rather than poverty itself. This paper will, therefore, examine these definitions of poverty and how these definitions have ill-informed the current ineffective and unsustainable poverty eradication strategies. It will then put forward a new definition of poverty that came out of a qualitative, rights-based approach to participative action research, which was a part of a Ph.D. field study, conducted in rural Malawi and its implications.

Item ID: 15836
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: poverty, poverty alleviation, poverty eradication, sustainable development
ISSN: 1520-5509
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2011 04:06
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation @ 80%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940108 Distribution of Income and Wealth @ 100%
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