We are still far from knowing with any accuracy how poverty burdens fall differentially on women and men in income terms, or in respect of other privations embedded within a more multidimensional concept of poverty. Recent macro-level statistical data suggest that while income poverty is declining in general in the Global South, it remains disproportionately skewed to women, and in some countries is also feminising or even re-feminising. This appears somewhat paradoxical given a host of ‘feminisations’ which on the surface might seem conducive to greater gender equality, including the feminisation of urbanisation, and the feminisation of anti-poverty policies. In the absence of effective explanations for why gendered poverty gaps persist, could it be that ‘objective’ quantitative data are only giving us part of the picture? And is this partly because the ‘space of the household’ – in particular its evolving configurations, internal dynamics, and individual subjectivities – remain inadequately addressed in analysis and policy? In this keynote I argue that two main issues beg further scrutiny: the first pertains to the feminisation of household headship, long seen as integral to the ‘feminisation of poverty’, and which is on the increase, especially in urban areas; the second relates to the framing of households within anti-poverty interventions.
Slum Touring: Fashioning Poverty and Branding Place
In this talk, I explore how poor urban spaces are fashioned into an aesthetic product that is consumable by tourists. I show how the commodification of disadvantaged districts in Latin American cities alter spatial conditions and impact the built environment, local economies and social relations. I argue that the dynamics of place-making through branding and performative practice in the tourist encounter ultimately re-signifies poverty to indicate something else, in particular authenticity, social creativity or resistance. I examine different agents engaged in these processes, and thus working at the intersection of empowerment, entrepreneurship and social inequality. I further discuss the effects when places previously banned from the city’s representation are turned into attractions on the global stage. My paper, which is the result of a collaborative research project, draws on an ethnographic approach to show the transformative potential of slum touring
Street homelessness policies provoke great intensity of feeling across the globe, especially when responses include elements of force or 'criminalisation'. At the same time, the ‘tolerant’ stance of some homelessness service providers, particularly those from a 'faith' background, has been accused of perpetuating harmful street lifestyles. This paper examines the moral case for and against enforcement in street homelessness policies using a series of normative ‘lenses’, including contractualist, mutualist, paternalist, utilitarian and social justice perspectives. It highlights disparity between the condemnatory portrayals of enforcement dominant in some academic and media discourses, and the more complex and/or ambivalent views held by practitioners and homeless people ‘on the ground’. It concludes that a philosophically-informed analytical framework can facilitate more constructive, and less polarising, conversations about policy interventions with this extremely poor and very vulnerable group.
This paper considers the various ways in which concepts of poverty and social exclusion have been employed in rural studies, and summarises some of the insights which have emerged, especially in relation to the processes underlying poverty, inequality and exclusion. Are these processes different from those affecting people in urban contexts, and how might space and place be implicated? What is the relationship between social inequality and spatial inequality, and at what scales? How are local social, cultural and economic processes embedded within macro-structural processes? The paper argues for a focus on multi-dimensional, dynamic, relational processes, at multiple scales. Our research should elaborate the causal pathways through which macro-structural transformations (such as the economic crisis) affect rural localities, and how these are mediated and negotiated at multiple scales by individual and collective agency.
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