The Relational Poverty Network convenes a community of scholars, working within and beyond academia, to develop conceptual frameworks, research methodologies, and pedagogies for the study of relational poverty. Launched at a historical moment of dramatic income inequality and enforced austerity in the global North, the RPN thinks across geographical boundaries to foster a transnational and comparative approach to poverty research.  In doing so, it pays attention to new global geographies of development, new forms of regulating poverty, and analyses from those often marginalized by poverty debates.  Building on a long tradition of critical work on poverty, it shifts from thinking about ‘the poor and poor others’ to thinking about relationships of power and privilege

Our members come together to

i) expand thinking about the causes of poverty

ii) develop collaborative projects that cross disciplinary and geographical boundaries

iii) bring scholars, teachers, policy makers and activists into intentional collaboration

iv) build the next generation of scholars and scholarship on relational poverty

RPN members partner with other organizations across our networks to build awareness and effect change through our research.


The Argentine workshops in 2010 and 2012 were funded by an NSF OISE seed grant (#0962689).  The Relational Poverty RCN network is currently funded by NSF grant (BCS-1252810) from 2013-2018.

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington has also provided substantial support to this network, as well as the University of Washington Helen R. Whiteley Center.

The Department of Geography, our staff members and our graduate students, who provide crucial support to this project. Our research assistants Magie Ramírez, Elyse Gordon, Mónica Farías, Joe Eckert, Tish Lopez, Austin Crane, Jordyn Vandeleur, Stella Jones, Koji Pingry, Sam Nowak, Helen Olsen, and Isaac Rivera have all supported this project.

We are deeply grateful for all this support.


Co-conveners of RPN:
Sarah Elwood, University of Washington, selwood@uw.edu

Victoria Lawson, University of Washington, lawson@uw.edu

Steering Committee:
 The steering committee is responsible for planning activities and overseeing the budget. It has a rotating membership and includes junior and senior members.

Eugene McCann, Simon Fraser University;
 Ezequiel Adamovsky, CONICET; 
Ananya Roy, Berkeley; 
Frances Fox Piven, CUNY
; Eric Sheppard, UCLA
; Akhil Gupta, UCLA; 
Richard Ballard,Gauteng City-Region Observatory, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Johannesburg; Stephen Healy, CEC and University of Western Sydney;
 Helga Leitner, UCLA; 
Sam Hickey, U. Manchester; Tony Sparks, San Francisco State University