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Poverty DynamicsInterdisciplinary Perspectives$
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Tony Addison, David Hulme, and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557547

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557547.001.0001

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Toward an Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

Toward an Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

Enhancing the Rigour and Relevance of Social Theory*

(p.328) 15 Toward an Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty
Poverty Dynamics

Michael Woolcock (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on both expanding and refining the analytical scope of the ‘social’ (or non-economic) aspects of chronic poverty. The chapter is structured in six sections. Section 15.2 briefly looks at how poverty generally, and chronic poverty in particular, is explained in the current policy literature, with a focus on ‘poverty traps’ and (more recently) ‘inequality traps’. It is argued that three strands of scholarship in the non-economic social sciences have exerted quite considerable influence at the level of contemporary policy discourse (and to a lesser extent, practice), and that critics, especially those within these disciplines, have been slow to recognize this fact. Section 15.3 argues that these successes cannot do the heavy intellectual lifting required for a more comprehensive social theory of chronic poverty, and that, as such, a new edifice must be constructed and negotiated for. Section 15.4 provides three brief case studies of selected aspects of chronic poverty to demonstrate both the influence and the limits of prevailing approaches. Section 15.5 provides a defence of three constituent realms of a broader social theory of chronic poverty, namely systems of social relations, rules, and meaning. Section 15.6 concludes.

Keywords:   poverty assessment, social aspects, social relations, social rules, social meaning

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