Relational Poverty Network and Profs. Sarah Elwood & Vicky Lawson featured in UW Today!

Two University of Washington geography professors are leading an effort with what might be considered a staggeringly ambitious goal — to reframe how poverty is perceived and studied around the world.

Victoria Lawson and Sarah Elwood are the co-founders of the UW-based Relational Poverty Network, a coalition of academic institutions and organizations around the United States and as far away as Europe, Asia and Africa. The network seeks to recast perceptions of poverty from something impacting others — what Lawson terms “this shiny object or person called the poor” — to a condition created by a complex web of societal relationships involving power and privilege.

It’s a sharp departure, they say, from the traditional view of poverty in the United States as resulting from people’s own decisions, rather than the effect of economic forces and structural inequality.

“There’s a tendency to blame the poor for their poverty,” Lawson said. “That’s the individualist explanation. There’s a lot of judgment.”

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Join us for a workshop to raise our awareness of microaggressions


Please join us for a workshop to raise our awareness of microaggressions on Friday, May 29, 3:30 to 5:30pm at the Ethnic Cultural Center.  Everyone is welcome, and refreshments will be provided.

Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group.

“All of us are socialized into the society, and it really is the height of arrogance or naiveté to think that any of us are immune from inheriting biases that are deeply embedded in this society and culture. They come out in ways that we’re not aware of,”

Sue, KUOW, April 2015.

Image: October 2011, Monitor on Psychology, American Association of Psychologists, Subtle and stunning slights.