DSA Multidimensional Poverty and Poverty Dynamics Study group
Poverty reduction has never been higher on international research and policy agendas. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognise poverty to take monetary and multidimensional forms and that it should be fought for women and men of all ages. A growing evidence base in both developed and developing countries allow for new insights and understandings into the shape and dynamics of poverty and social mobility. These encompass inequality and relative poverty as the global distribution of poverty is shifting from low income to middle income countries. To reflect the vibrancy of conceptual, methodological, empirical and policy debates, the group has two strands: one, conceptual/methodological, and the second, application/policy.
- The conceptual and methodological strand addresses questions relating to the meaning and measurement of poverty, the conceptualization of poverty, and the reproduction of poverty over time. Areas include multi-dimensionality in poverty, the intergenerational transfer of poverty, social exclusion, and alternative conceptualisations of poverty such as the Sen/Nussbaum Capability Approach, and wellbeing approaches. In relation to methodology, the group will take a critical look at poverty assessment (particularly from longitudinal perspectives), impact evaluations of poverty interventions, global-national-local-individual interfaces, subjective and relational aspects of poverty, and mixed methods research designs. The group does not focus on a particular age group, but looks at poverty across the life course, spanning the experiences of children and elderly people as well as adults.
- The application and policy-led strand addresses questions relating to the policy process and objectives. These include reflections on how poverty debates or frameworks for development and poverty reduction have influenced policy and have been successful or not. For example, to what extent do the SDGs offer a new framework for understanding development and addressing development challenges? What gaps are there in the SDGs? What steps should be taken to achieve the SDGs? In addition, this strand aims to tie in to country- or context-specific policy responses to multidimensional poverty, such as social protection, or issues factors associated with or leading to multidimensional poverty, such as migration, urbanisation and psychosocial wellbeing.
The aim of the group is to bring together people working on poverty across the global North and South using a range of conceptual and methodological approaches. In doing this it will contribute to contemporary debates and share multi-disciplinary research on understanding, measuring, and reducing poverty.
Laura Camfield (University of East Anglia) Solava Ibrahim (Anglia Ruskin University) Keetie Roelen (Institute of Development Studies), Meera Tiwari (University of East London)
E: L.Camfield(at)uea.ac.uk, Solava.Ibrahim(at)anglia.ac.uk, k.roelen(at)ids.ac.uk, M.Tiwari(at)uel.ac.uk
The joint DSA-EADI Multidimensional Poverty and Poverty Dynamics study group is looking for a new convening team to start in September 2017. If this is of interest, please contact any of the current convenors (Laura Camfield, Solava Ibrahim, Keetie Roelen or Meera Tiwari) to discuss what the role involves. Ideally we’re looking for a two-person team, however, we’re happy to put individuals in contact if they apply separately. Essentially all you need is an interest in poverty and poverty dynamics, time, and commitment to running a study group, so this is an ideal role for early career academics and practitioner who would like to enhance their CVs and expand their networks. Convenor roles are generally rotated on a three-year basis.
We are organizing one panel with CROP at EADI 2017 entitled Reaching the left behind: What role for the SDGs? – see abstract below.
The focus of the EADI-NORDIC Conference 2017 is on the countries and people who are left behind in a vision of convergence. The pressures they experience relate to inequality, increased competition for resources and jobs, and cuts in state-funding for social protection, basic services and infrastructure. Our panel asks whether, in this context, it is possible to 'leave no one behind' or not. Can the SDGs support ‘peaceful, inclusive, just and sustainable global development’? In light of this fundamental question, we look at classic themes tackled by this working group such as people’s experiences of poverty and inequality, how they are reproduced over time, how they differ across middle and low income countries, and the extent to which they can be meaningfully captured by quantitative and qualitative methods. We also look at the practical politics and political economy of the social contract advocated by the SDGs and critically explore the (supportive or disruptive) role that populist social movements can play in this agenda. We welcome novel and empirically grounded papers addressing any of these themes.
We may act as a discussant on John Gaventa and Alberto Cimadore’s panel on the World Social Science Report once the line-up has been confirmed.
One of the conveners joined the editorial board of the new Global Challenges Working Paper Series, established by the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), the International Social Science Council and the University of Bergen Global Programme.
We are also considering organising a one or one and a half day event with European policymakers in 2018 (these would be primarily from the DGs, however, as these are currently being restructured it isn’t possible to give more detail at this stage). The aim would be to reflect upon outcomes from the EADI general conference of 2017 with regard to policy and practice. The venue would be Brussels, ideally the University of Maastricht, and timing late May to early July.
Development Studies Association, September 2016, University of Oxford
We ran a panel at the DSA 2016 conference entitled ‘Poverty dynamics: shame, blame and responsibility’ (organised by Keetie Roelen). This proved very popular and was run across three thematic sessions (‘Poverty: shame, blame and responsibility’; ‘Social protection for reducing poverty: shame, blame and responsibility’; ‘Poverty measurement: shame, blame and responsibility’). Highlights included presentations by Paul Dornan from Young Lives on the adverse consequences of shame in childhood with respect to education attainment, Courtney Kurlanska from Rochester Institute of Technology on the normalization of poverty in Nicaragua and by Daniele Malerba from the University of Manchester on the need to consider contextual and structural factors in assessing the effect of anti-poverty policies.
Development Studies Association, September 2015, University of Bath
We presented one panel at the DSA conference in September 2015 entitled ‘Should the SDGs break away from the 'silo approach' of the MDGs? (organised by Meera Tiwari).We organised a promotional event around the publication of an edited volume prepared by two of our convenors (Keetie Roelen and Laura Camfield) from a workshop at UEA-London on Mixed Methods Research in Poverty and Vulnerability at IDS on 14th October.
EADI/DSA Multidimensional Poverty Working Group, EADI Disasters and Development Working Group and HDCA Sustainable Human Development Thematic Group, June 2015, University of East London
Rethinking Development Research: the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals
2015 will see an assessment of how well we have done in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a definition of the Post-2015 agenda. Currently this includes a reformulation of the MDGs and the introduction of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will no doubt, at least rhetorically, come to define the international agenda, affect aid and research funding. At present the proposed goals are listed here, however, their number and how they are measured may change before adoption, which presents its own challenges.
Whilst some goals are familiar, the SDGs bring onto the agenda many issues with which development specialists do not normally engage especially those relating directly to the environment. The current MDGs have been criticized on many grounds amongst which has been the interconnected nature of these goals. This poses a challenge as policy makers, politicians, NGOs and academics tend to work in one area and pay (much) less attention to others.
This workshop encouraged researchers to reflect on how their own work can contribute to: (a) a better understanding of which goals to include in the post-2015 development agenda; (b) a better explanation on how one or more of the SDGs can be more effectively achieved; and (c) a critical exploration of what roles different development actors can play in achieving one or more of these goals. We explored questions such as: Are the goals relevant and to whom? How should we engage with them as academics and as researchers wanting to do good research and have our voices heard?
DSA Annual Conference panel, London, November 2014
Understanding child and youth poverty: beyond ‘business as usual’
Convenor: Keetie Roelen (IDS)
Based on moral, rights and economic grounds, the body of research on multidimensional child poverty has been greatly expanded in the last decade. Nevertheless, considerable knowledge gaps remain, compromising the efforts towards improving the lives of children and youth. It is therefore imperative to build on and push the existing research as we are moving into the post-2015 era. Novel ways of data collection and innovative practice in analysing new and existing data about child poverty and wellbeing of youth are required to move beyond ‘business as usual'.The DSA/EADI Study Group on Multidimensional Poverty and Poverty Dynamics will be organising a panel session at the DSA Annual Conference on Saturday 1 November 2014 on multidimensional child and youth poverty. The papers in this panel add to the debate by presenting new conceptual framings and methodological innovations for investigating poverty and wellbeing of children and/ or youth or offering empirical findings that illustrate a move beyond current practice. Topics include longitudinal analysis of poverty, the use of novel methodologies and mixed methods approaches and the role of under-researched factors in child and youth wellbeing such as aspirations, attitudes and agency.
View the paper abstracts (PDF).
EADI Conference Study group panels, Bonn 2014
Multidimensional poverty in a multi-polar world
Laura Camfield, Andrew Crabtree, David Durkee, Solava Ibrahim, Keetie Roelen, Meera Tiwari
The conference call described how some developing countries are ‘rising stars’ while others in the developing, and developed world are becoming increasingly marginalized as a result of stagnating levels of economic growth and losses in international market shares. This experience of marginalization is reproduced at the country and community level where marginalization of the poorest and most vulnerable is becoming increasingly entrenched. This panel asked a number of questions: firstly whether there has been an increase in the middle classes in the contexts in which we are working, given, for example, increasing graduate unemployment, and if so, what this would mean for the economic and political futures of those left behind. Secondly, who these new middle classes are and what their values and aspirations mean for the sustainability of poor people’s livelihoods (for example, in relation to projected increases in temperature). Thirdly, how people become middle-class, what the contemporary pathways to social mobility are and how sustainable middle class or non-poor status is once it is attained. This panel ran over four sessions and featured papers concerning these issues, with a particular focus on multi-dimensional poverty and poverty dynamics (for example, the subjective impacts of relative poverty and social exclusion), but also papers that contest the conference’s depiction of the future as middle-class.
Intersections of youth and inequality: How does inequality shape the identities and aspirations of young people in the global North and South?
Laura Camfield, (University of East Anglia)
This panel addressed the subjective effects of inequality on the lives of young people in the global North and South. The papers span multiple countries and rural and urban settings. They look at the intersecting effects of other (potential) vulnerabilities such as religion, gender and race. They also look at the impacts of these intersections on young people’s aspirations (Marzi) and Identities (Locke, Hoechner and di Nunzio). The panel mixes early career researchers, who are nonetheless experienced presenters, with established academics, ensuring empirical and theoretical content.
- Marco di Nunzio, Université Libre de Bruxelles. 'Now we are all workers'. Entrepreneurship and wage labour among street youth in Addis Ababa.
- Sonja Marzi, University of East Anglia. Aspirations of Young Afro-Colombians in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Navigating Spaces and Futures.
- Catherine Locke, University of East Anglia and Lan Anh Hoang, University of Melbourne. Modern identity, conventional desires and proper conduct in a Special Economic Zone: Young Women Migrating for Factory Work in Vietnam.
- Hannah Hoechner, University of Oxford. Experiencing inequality at close range: traditional Qur'anic students working as domestics in Kano, Nigeria.
UEA/IDS International Workshop on Mixed Methods Research in Poverty and Vulnerability: sharing ideas and learning lessons, London, July 2013
Read the papers and presentations.
DSA Annual Conference panel, London, November 2013
Study Group Meeting, April 2013
The Study Group organised a panel at the annual conference on the power of evidence on multidimensional poverty and poverty dynamics, picking up on themes explored in recent conferences on evidence and impact evaluation and Duncan Green’s influential blog.
The panel discussed all three conference themes in looking at how the new aid architecture has shaped notions of rigour and accountability, how evidence-based policy making can represent a new form of governmentality, and how evaluation frameworks and methodologies can respond to the more fluid and context-specific formulations of the MDGs post-2015.