Contrasting Theoretical and Case-Related Thinking in Poverty Alleviation: A Framework Based on the Capability Approach
19 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 31, 2018
The capability approach of Amartya Sen focuses on the freedom of individuals, their real opportunity to lead a life they have a reason to value. Within this framework, poverty is not solely the lack of material goods, but the lack of valuable doings and beings one has the freedom to choose. The objective of present paper was to propose a minimum set of aspects to be considered by poverty alleviation initiatives on the basis of the capability approach; and to test this framework through a qualitative empirical analysis carried out in Hungary. The paper analyzed how were the proposed aspects of poverty alleviation reflected by various stakeholders of poverty reduction initiatives (decision makers, experts and civil activists). It first examined the general thinking of stakeholders about poverty, then it analyzed their opinion about a planned housing project for disadvantaged people in Szeged, Hungary. According to the results, the general thinking of stakeholders about poverty was in harmony with the aspects we proposed on the basis of the capability approach. However, stakeholders’ focus of attention shifted when they evaluated a given case instead of just thinking generally about poverty.
Keywords: Poverty Alleviation, Capability Approach, Relation of Economics to Social Values, Human Development, International Linkages to Development
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