Understanding Poverty in Africa?
Mats Hårsmar’s ‘Understanding Poverty in Africa? A Navigation through Disputed Concepts, Data and Terrains’, the latest title in the Current African Issues series, is now available.
In any international comparison, sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the most pervasive poverty. The study of African societies requires the study of numerous dynamics, processes and situations with links to poverty issues. Recent methodological innovations hold that research into poverty should be multidimensional, dynamic and cross-disciplinary. But how can such research be undertaken?
In ‘Understanding Poverty in Africa? A Navigation through Disputed Concepts, Data and Terrains’, the latest title to be published in the Current African Issues series, Mats Hårsmar attempts to provide answers to the above question.
Having set the scene by providing an overview of major conceptual positions on poverty, Mats Hårsmar, focusing on theoretical and methodological issues, argues that insufficient attention has been given to epistemological and normative elements when bringing different disciplinary approaches together. The divides in the poverty debate which such elements represent have the potential to be bridged when the capability approach is taken into account.
In the subsequent empirical study of recent poverty developments in Tanzania and Burkina Faso, quantitative and qualitative methods are combined to show that regional differences in the structures of agricultural production may in large part explain variations in poverty.
The publication is the first in a series to be published within the Nordic Africa Institute programme on ‘Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion’.
Mats Hårsmar is senior research associate at the Nordic Africa Institute. Previously, he served as chief analyst in development policies at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. His research interests are agricultural development, including technological change, and poverty dynamics. Read more about him and his research.