2012 年 21 巻 1-2 号 p. 31-45
The study of chronic poverty in the global South has gained currency since the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) were set in motion as a key global development agenda in 2001. Although it shares much in common with the series of World Bank-led qualitative research on ‘moving out of poverty’, distinctive in its approach is the focus on the intergenerational transmission of poverty among those who would remain in absolute poverty by the MDGs target year of 2015. This analytical pessimism has called for a more sociologically-orientated, less policy-laden analysis of the dynamics of poverty.
This article joins current debates on chronic poverty and presents a distinctive approach of sociology, amongst other disciplines, to this emerging issue in development studies. In order to explore the multifaceted nature of poverty, which is perpetuated by the globalisation of economy and the neoliberalisation of governance that sweep across the global South, the article draws briefly on case studies from the slums of Ahmedabad, an India's globalising metropolis.
This article is divided into three parts. Firstly, it traces the genesis of the chronic poverty agenda and identifies the analytical contributions that sociology and cognate disciplines have made to this field. Secondly, it adopts the neo-Marxian approaches of globalisation to explain the pauperisation of poor people, particularly women, who are increasingly exploited in the light of the burgeoning informal economy. Thirdly, it appraises the unintended consequences of the use of human and social capital, both of which stress the resilience of individuals to cope with economic hardship and adversarial events through collective action. In this vein, it interrogates the invisible dimensions of power that exclude the poorest of the poor from associational life. In conclusion, the article suggests the need for a sociological analysis of chronic poverty to investigate both the political economy of social change and the cultural politics of development intervention.