Participatory Methods in the
Analysis of Poverty
Recent years have witnessed a great interest in participatory methods as instruments for poverty analysis. The insights which these participatory approaches have provided concerning the experience of poverty have contributed to the establishment of a mainstream multi-dimensional definition of poverty.
Adapted from a more complete paper:
Ruggeri Laderchi, C. 2001. Participatory
Methods in the Analysis of Poverty: A
Critical Review. Working Paper Number
62.QEHWP62. Queen Elizabeth House,
University of Oxford.
This paper reviews and analyzes the literature on participatory methods in the analysis of poverty: how they have emerged, how they have been adopted in this context and the challenges they pose.
Three big shifts seem to have characterized the debate on participation. In the 1970s, “popular participation” was seen as an important component of rural development and basic needs strategies, and as such figured in the programmatic statements of many international agencies. In the 1980s, it became associated with discourses of grassroots self-reliance and self-help, with non-government organizations (NGOs) often having to fill in the void left by a retreating state as a consequence of neo-liberal reforms. The 1990s saw participation being advocated on a larger scale, being moved beyond the boundaries of project or grassroots interventions to other spheres of social, economic and political life. Participation came then to be seen as a tool towards important policy objectives such as “empowerment” and “good governance”, while maintaining, at least in theory, a role as an end in itself.