Universal and Local Understanding of Poverty in Peru

Teofilo Altamirano, James Copestake, Adolfo Figueroa, Katie Wright-Revolledo

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9 Citations (SciVal)


The purpose of this survey of the literature on poverty in Peru is to contribute to universal and interdisciplinary understanding, while at the same time giving due weight to discipline-specific contributions. The first three sections review relevant literature on Peru by economists, social anthropologists and sociologists. The strict positivism of much economic literature renders it susceptible to neglect power relations and assume a benign and universal process of modernization. Anthropologists have revealed the importance of local cultural identity, but at the risk of downplaying universal dimensions of well-being. Sociologists struggle to reconcile a universal analysis of class structure with renewed emphasis on individual and collective agency in adversity. The last section puts forward an integrating theoretical framework centred on the concepts of inclusion and exclusion. In contrast to the "tragic optimism" of Sender this theory of social exclusion can best be summed up as "constructive pessimism".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-336
Number of pages24
JournalGlobal Social Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs (I380)
  • Migration (O150)
  • Human Development
  • Government Programs
  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Economic Development
  • Human Resources
  • Measurement and Analysis of Poverty (I320)
  • Income Distribution


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