Relational Approaches to Poverty in Rural India: Social, Ecological and Technical Dynamics
MetadataShow full item record
Poverty is now widely recognised as multidimensional, with indicators including healthcare, housing and sanitation. Yet, relational approaches that foreground political-cultural processes remain marginalised in policy discourses. Focusing on India, we review a wide range of relational approaches to rural poverty. Beginning with early approaches that focus on structural reproduction of class, caste and to a lesser extent gender inequality, we examine new relational approaches developed in the last two decades. The new approaches examine diverse ways in which poverty is experienced and shapes mobilisations against deprivation. They draw attention to poor people’s own articulations of deprivation and alternate conceptions of well-being. They also show how intersecting inequalities of class, caste and gender shape governance practices and political movements. Despite these important contributions, the new relational approaches pay limited attention to technologies and ecologies in shaping the experience of poverty. Reviewing studies on the Green Revolution and wider agrarian transformations in India, we then sketch the outlines of a hybrid relational approach to poverty that combines socio-technical and -ecological dynamics. We argue that such an approach is crucial to challenge narrow economising discourses on poverty and to bridge the policy silos of poverty alleviation and (environmentally) sustainable development.