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Title: The poverty debate with application to the Republic of Guinea.
Author: Shaffer, Paul.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3395 1388
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1999
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The thesis argues for one proposition: 'philosophical assumptions matter'. It uses a contemporary debate about poverty to show how philosophical assumptions matter. The poverty debate pits the Income/Consumption (IIC) approach to poverty against the Participatory (PA) approach to poverty. The philosophical assumptions are epistemological, with implications for methodology, and normative, with implications for conceptions/aspects of well-beinglill-being. It is argued that philosophical assumptions matter in three ways: I) they affect research orientation; 2) they affect conceptual categories in use; 3) they may affect research outcomes (with potential policy implications). The first issue is addressed in Chapter 2 which examines epistemological/methodological links between two different traditions of inquiry in the social sciences, Empiricism and critical hermeneutics, and the IIC and PA approaches to poverty, respectively. It examines both historical and analytical links. The latter establish connections between conflicting epistemological positions concerning knowledge and truth/validity and methodological aspects of the two poverty approaches concerning: determination of well-beinglill-being, measurement of ill-beinglwell-being, stance toward individual preferences, sources of data and prescriptive aims. The second issue is addressed in Chapter 3 which examines links between two different approaches to normative theory, Naturalist Normative Theory (NNT) and Discursive Normative Theory (DNT), and the conceptions/aspects of ill-being used in the IIC and PA approaches to poverty, respectively. As above, it examines both historical and analytical links. The latter establish connections between different modes of normative theory construction and the constituents/aspects of ill-being in the two poverty approaches. The third issue is addressed in Chapters 4 and 5 which compare findings of the IIC and PA poverty approaches undertaken in the Republic of Guinea with a view to determine if they identify different groups as 'poor' or 'worse-off' because they are using different conceptions/aspects of ill-being. Chapter 4 examines the poverty condition of female-headed and male-headed households, the distribution of girls and women in poor households, and the intrahousehold, gender distribution of food and health, to determine if women or girls face greater consumption poverty than men or boys. Chapter 5 presents the results of a Participatory Poverty Assessment which used a variety of techniques to determine if villagers considered women as a group to be 'worse-off than men. Chapter 6 concludes and offers a number of reasons why the central argument matters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa; Gender; Welfare; Ethics