ISSJ - N° 197-198: Grassroots Approaches to Poverty Reduction

September/December 2009

While poverty continues to be a key social and political issue that continues to elicit scholarly interest, legal and juridical perspectives on poverty and the poor are all too often elided in critical discourse. This issue therefore attempts to fill this lacuna by offering a series of inter-disciplinary perspectives on poverty as an ethical issue which is intrinsically embedded in questions of the law, the social contract, international governance, and human rights.

The articles collected here all move from the “ground up” and synthesize ethnographic research with policy analyses against the larger backdrop of economic globalization. Moreover, insofar as poverty is a cross-cutting issue that effects the very tissue of any healthy society, these studies also examine poverty from a series of diverse optics which include inter-alia the study of unemployed household heads in Argentina, pro-poor policies in rural Botswana, household welfare in Vietnam, Women’s NGOs in Nigeria, and the right to access to science and technology.

Thinking about poverty as a human rights issue can potentially inaugurate the way for new forms of social transformation and local empowerment. More importantly, understanding poverty as a human rights violation can also lead to transformations on the level of local and international policy which can potentially create the grounds to eliminate the proliferation of poverty traps across the globe.

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