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Placing Poverty in Context: A Case Study

Gopinath, Deepak; Nair, Murali

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Murali Nair


The “poverty-in-context” approach to understanding poverty is shaped by the needs and priorities of a particular context, and it can be used as the basis for identifying pro-poor projects in local strategies such as City Development Plans. A key argument for the introduction of the City Development Plans initiative (2007–2012) in India was to move away from national conceptions of and responses to poverty and to instead focus on engaging with local understandings of poverty. Through a case study of the City Development Plan initiative in Trivandrum, the capital city of the Kerala state in southern India, we argue that an understanding of poverty at the local level did not accommodate contextual needs and priorities; consequently, we develop a poverty-in-context approach based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with various stakeholders in the case study area. The article concludes by suggesting how in the future a poverty-in-context approach might be used to shape pro-poor policy in general and preparation of City Development Plans in particular.


Gopinath, D., & Nair, M. (2014). Placing Poverty in Context: A Case Study. Poverty and Public Policy, 6(2), 135-156

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2014
Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Deposit Date Sep 18, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 19, 2017
Journal Poverty & Public Policy
Print ISSN 1944-2858
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Pages 135-156
Keywords poverty-in-context, local self-help, pro-poor policy, India, Kerala, city development plans, Jawaharlal Nehru national urban renewal mission
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