The Relational Poverty Network

Developing a Global Network of Researchers to Expand Poverty Research Discussion

WCPC Seminar Series on Poverty and Policy: Autumn 2013
November 18, 2013

Presented by Vicky Lawson and Sarah Elwood, Department of Geography, University of Washington. Co-founders of the Relational Poverty Network.

Speaker Biography

Vicky Lawson, Ph.D., is a professor of Geography at the University of Washington and co-founder of the Relational Poverty Network; Past-President of the Association of American Geographers (AAG); Marsha Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award winner; Director of the UW Honors Program, former Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Washington, and committed teacher. Lawson's work draws on critical poverty studies and feminist care ethics to collaborate in building alternative understandings of impoverishment and social alliances to address inequality.

Sarah Elwood, Ph.D., is a professor of geography at the University of Washington and co-founder of the Relational Poverty Network. Elwood's work contributes to urban geography, relational poverty research, critical GIS & geoweb studies, and mixed/visual methods. She is currently working on comparative research on middle class poverty politics in mixed income residential neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and Seattle. Two recently completed initiatives examined the role of the geoweb in transforming privacy, activism and visual epistemologies; and the potential of interactive mapping technologies in fostering young teens’ collaborative learning and critical politics.


Talk Abstract

This presentation introduces the Relational Poverty Network (RPN), funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted on the UW Campus.  The RPN aims to enliven and expand poverty research by bringing together scholars, students, activists and policy-makers from diverse theoretical and methodological traditions, disciplines and countries into new conversations.  This collaborative research network advances a relational approach to poverty: theorizing poverty as produced and addressed by economic, political and cultural relationships between social groups.  This open and evolving network of poverty scholars is connected by members’ commitment to:

  • Focusing on new objects of study (such as middle class attitudes towards poverty, cross-class alliances, spaces of encounter)
  • building collaborative research across national contexts and disciplines
  • building resources for meaningful comparison across quantitative and qualitative studies
  • fostering open conversations across different views of poverty