Reframing Poverty: What Role for the Middle Classes? (2009)

July 23, 2015  • Posted in Proposals  •  0 Comments

Vicky Lawson – University of Washington – National Science Foundation Office of International Scholarships and Exchanges Workshop Grant

Funded as Full Professor

Proposal Abstract
The proposed planning visits launch comparative research on the links between middle class vulnerability, identities and poverty politics in Argentina and the United States. Poverty researchers are recognizing that the flow of ideas about how to respond to economic crisis should not go exclusively from rich to poor countries (Ravallion, 2009). In the United States, some scholars are recognizing the insularity and exceptionalism of U.S. poverty studies and are calling for comparative multinational research to expand our approaches to combating poverty (Smeeding, 2008). This research explores how middle class actors understand and respond to poverty across the Americas. We urgently need research on the ways in which new forms of economic globalization are transforming the economic position, identities and poverty politics of middle class groups across the Americas because middle classes hold material, political and symbolic resources that can legitimate or shape public action on poverty (Reis and Moore, 2005). The following are central questions: how are middle class groups experiencing economic crisis? How are cultural and economic processes mutually intertwined and embedded in places (in geographies and economic histories) to produce middle class identities? How do middle class actors understand poverty at home and afar? Under what circumstances do middle class actors define themselves in opposition to, or in solidarity with the poor as they engage with political and economic agendas in their countries and beyond their borders?

You can download the proposal here.

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