are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
An international conference was organized by the Netherlands' National
Commission for UNESCO, in co-operation with the research schools AWSB (Netherlands
School for Social and Economic Policy Research) and CERES (Research School
Resource Studies for Development), and the Institute of Social Studies
The conference examined current trends in research on poverty and in
the application of research results to the development of national, bilateral
and multilateral policy related to the alleviation of poverty. The aim
of the conference was to compare research on poverty in developing countries
with poverty research in The Netherlands (and other industrialized countries).
Prof. Dr. Arie de Ruijter, Director CERES Research School Resources for Development (Utrecht University), Member of the Sub-Commission for Social Sciences of the Netherlands Commission for UNESCO, and Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the MOST Programme
The thrust of this talk hinged on the observation that there is real
growing inequality in terms of income and capital not only between but
within nation states, caused in part by the severe cutbacks to the welfare
system. Multiple deprivation, caused by family stress, insecure employment
and poor housing result in growing crime, feelings of loneliness and isolation
in major urban centres across the globe. An argument was made for addressing
social exclusion separately from the issue of poverty and informality,
this hitherto not being the case in much of the development literature,
and for research to focus on the conceptual connection between poverty,
exclusion and informality. Disentangling these concepts can be one way
for new studies on social exclusion to contribute to the debate on poverty
Urban Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Advanced Industrial Countries
Central to this presentation was the premise that the type of poverty
seen today in third world city slums is similar to the Victorian city poverty
which arose through exclusion of a percentage of the population from being
able to compete and enter the market economy driven by industrialisation.
It was argued that social capital in the form of family, networks, community
bonding and shared values is increasingly necessary for excluded groups
to survive in light of the State’s incapacity to provide minimum conditions
for all to gain an entry passport to the market. Stripped of the capacity
to compete in a market economy, deprived of state welfare support and devoid
of social capital, results in turning to illegal activity for survival.
A strong argument was made for considering the concept of social exclusion
as separate from the issue of poverty. Furthermore, it was emphasised that
economic policies based on the assumption that financing economic growth
leads to the creation of employment and the expansion of welfare services
are fallacious, because there is not a positive relationship between growth,
job creation and welfare expansion. In view of this ruptured relationship,
social capital becomes increasingly valuable for enabling individuals to
secure the minimum resources necessary to compete in society. It was pointed
out that the traditional welfare system is insufficient and inadapted to
today’s society because family structures have changed significantly over
the past twenty years, and is no longer based on the nuclear, male breadwinner
definition of a household. Finally, consideration must be given to the
way in which state services discriminate against the poor, and ways in
which the state does not guarantee same rights to its citizens : one example
is the homeless who, because they do not have a permanent address, are
ineligible for a range of welfare services.
Defining Poverty and identifying the Poor
This presentation focused on the Bank’s poverty data collection activities
in developing countries in Africa, covering basic household demographic
data, public expenditure data and legal data. The data underscored the
need to have gender disaggregated information on household structure without
which patterns of family systems could not be adequately understood. Data
from Mauritania, for example, showed that 77% of households were male headed
but that both men and women were highly mobile, resulting in only one parent
being in the household at a time over a given period. Data from the Ivory
Coast showed that female-headed households were predominant in rural areas,
thereby underscoring the spatial importance of gender disaggregated data.
Further, the recent World Bank household survey in South Africa revealed
five different types of female headed households, each type with different
sources of income, activity and coping strategy, thereby illustrating that
there is no standardized type of household. The Bank is examining ways
in which male productivity in the African economies can be increased, which
requires overcoming traditional patterns of social behaviour and traditional
and accepted forms of gender relations.
A European View on Poverty
This presentation focused on two new forms of poverty in urban cities. The first form arises from illegal immigration, and the social dynamics of multicultural neighborhoods in western European cities where illegal immigrants enter into the informal economy and eventually into criminal activity. The second form of poverty is the exclusion of citizens from the formal labour market in European countries and their dependence on social security. In this respect, the paper argued that real unemployment figures are masked and that, for example, in The Netherlands, real unemployment was around 10%. Five percent, however were registered as "disabled workers", thereby reducing official unemployment figures by about half.
The presentation discussed the growing spatial importance of poverty, with some neighborhoods in Rotterdam boasting 50% of the population dependent on social security neighborhoods. Conversely, those living in these neighborhoods, are not jobless since the research work showed that they are frequently engaged in informal work or criminal activity. Further, they are excluded from the formal employment structure but their strong system of social capital, networks and bonding enables them to survive and feel integrated into a community. The presentation argued that the concept of poverty should be reserved for those who are jobless, living for a long period of time (to be defined) on social security and who are unable to mobilise social capital.
WorkshopsPoverty and Coping Strategies
Dr. Wil Pansters, CERES
The first paper, presented by Cecília Loreto Mariz from the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, focuses on religion as a cultural strategy in the struggle against poverty. The paper concentrates on Latin America, the author arguing that the culture of the poor living in this region being closely related to religion. The author distinguishes between different types of religious strategies: material strategies, political strategies, and motivational or psychological strategies. Material strategies are those generating goods and income for the poor. Political strategies involve political activity. Motivational/psychological strategies refer to the attitudes, beliefs, symbols and values the poor adopt to motivate themselves to survive and to improve their living conditions. The paper argues religion encompasses these different types of strategies, and thus plays a strategic role in the daily coping with poverty.
The second paper of Mirjam de Bruijn, from the Dutch African Studies Center, is a case study on poverty and mobility of pastoralists in the Sahel. Through this study of a nomadic population, it is argued poverty is not only material, nor only social. Poverty is also experienced on an emotional and existential level, and is closely related to identity. Poverty is also gendered. The paper suggests that mainly men migrate to escape from poverty.
The third paper of Henri Gooren, Utrecht University, is a study of small-scale enterprise in La Florida, western Guatemala City, as an important coping strategy. Having conducted life histories interviews with thirteen key informants, the author studies the origins of informal entrepreneurship (how do people become small entrepreneurs?), the individual requirements (what is needed on an individual basis to start a small-scale enterprise?), and household requirements (what are the demands the enterprise makes on the owner's household?).
Finally, a paper was presented by Annelou Ypeij, Erasmus University
Rotterdam, entitled "Poverty, survival and identity in two distinct worlds.
A preliminary ethnographical comparison". The paper, based on ongoing research,
examines how people cope with their situations both in Lima, Peru, and
in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
A first paper by H. Silver of Brown University looked at the issue of Astronaut families, particularly immigrants from the Dominican Republic to the east coast of the United States. The paper argued that the effectiveness of transnationalism as a mechanism to fight poverty and to develop the economies of low-income communities depends upon the institutionalisation of different transnational networks. Again the concept of social capital as the capacity to use social networks and group norms to gain information, command scarce resources and make contacts from which others are excluded, was emphasised in the context of migrant communities.
The paper argues that the new phenomena of astronaut or transnational migrants is that new technology enables them to participate in the community life of two difference places at once. Trade liberalization, which has encouraged market globalism, and advanced communications and transportation have facilitated exchanges of money, ideas and other scarce resources to flow back and forth more frequently. This phenomena gives a new dimension to the notion of migrant communities, their capacity to mobilise ethnic social capital and to engage in political entrepreneurship
The paper by P. de Mas focused on Moroccan immigration to the Netherlands, Italy and Spain and the impact of this migration on the sending and receiving countries and on the migrants themselves. The survey showed that wanting to migrate was correlated with higher levels of education, contrary to what could initially be suspected. The study also discussed how the Moroccan community living in the Netherlands is spatially located in cities and particular neighborhoods. The paper argued that Moroccan immigration from the North went to predominantly English speaking western European countries whereas outflows from southern Morocco tended to be French speaking and to immigrate to France and Belgium. It was argued that the English speaking communities integrated more easily into the receiving society and its formal economy than the French migrants and was economically more successful.
The paper by R. Staring was an interesting study of 169 illegal migrants in Rotterdam. Through indepth interviewing the study revealed the critical importance of social networks and social capital in determining the patterns of mobility. It examined trajectories, looking at socio-economic and cultural differences amongst those who immigrated directly to Rotterdam, those who came first to Amsterdam, those who arrived in another European country and then moved to Rotterdam. One of the findings was that migrant communities with networks across several European countries tended to move from city to city across Europe, once arriving illegally in the continent. These different patterns of economic immigration are key policy questions for the European Union.
Fred Opio, Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center in Uganda, presented a paper related to poverty driven policy objectives in Uganda.
The paper by Timo Voipio, from the University of Helsinki, focuses on the way different European aid agencies deal with poverty and poverty reduction, based on a case study in Tanzania. Thus, the paper distinguishes between several ways of thinking of European donor agencies which are also called "narratives".
B. Pronk, Chairman of the social affairs commission of the European Parliament, gave an overview of European strategies in the field of poverty alleviation.
Central to this workshop was the call for field level impact. The lack
of this type of research was said to be the weakest part of poverty research
in the South as well as in the North.
Focusing on eastern and central Europe, the first paper by Chris de Neubourg examined whether structural adjustment processes have had consequences for the nature of poverty and whether poverty before adjustment differs from poverty during and after the process.
The paper by G. Pyatt argued that the conceptualisation of poverty underpinning the Washington consensus can be misleading and suggests an alternative approach that differentiates the destitute from the poor and that proposes a reformulation of supplyside economics and an alternative perspective on poverty analysis. This paper was undoubtedly one of the most interesting. Its author, a former world bank staff member, now at the Institute for Social Studies in the Hague and currently evaluating the World Bank’s poverty assessments for more than twenty countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is a name to bear in mind for the developments of the MOST Programme’s initiatives on poverty and social exclusion.
The previous summaries do not engage the responsibility of the authors.
Mr E. Berner
Mr J. Botter
Ms M. de Bruijn
Mr M.T. Crump
Drs M.J.J. Diderich
Dr G. Dijkstra
Mr H.J. Dirven
Professor Dr G.B.M. Engbersen
Professor B. de Gaay Fortman
Dr N. Gestring
Mr W. van Ginneken
Ms P. van Golen
Mr H. Gooren
Professor Dr J.W. Gunning
Dr L. de Haan
Dr P. Hoebink
Ms T. van der Hoek
Mr/Ms N. de Jong
Ms B.A.S. de Klerk
Professor Dr D. Kruijt
Drs D. Lageweg
Professor N. Long
Dr C. Loreto Mariz
Mr P. de Mas
Professor E. Mingione
Ms E.M. Morris-Hughes
Dr A.L. van Naerssen
Professor Dr C. de Neubourg
Dr F. Opio
Dr W. Pansters
Mr/Ms I. Peerboom
Ms N.R.M. Pouw
Dr M.P. Pradhan
Mr B. Pronk
Professor Dr F.G. Pyatt
Mr G. Rugalema
Professor Dr A. de Ruyter
Dr L. Schulpen
Professor H. Silver
Dr E. Snel
Mr R. Staring
Drs I.A.L. Stoop
Mr/Ms P. van Tilburg
Ms F. ten Velde
Professor Dr M.L. Vellinga
Mr T. Voipio
Professor Dr J. Vranken
Dr B.E. van Vucht Tijssen
Ms P. van Vucht Tijssen
Professor Dr. C. Wallace
Drs R.F. Wijnstra
Dr A. Ypeij
Netherlands Commission for Unesco
P.O. Box 29777
2502 LT The Hague
Tel. + 31 (0)70 4260266
Fax +31 (0)70 4260359
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