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Poverty and Shame A study in eight countries Elaine Chase Sohail Choudhry Frederick Golooba-Mutebi Erika Gubrium Ivar Lødemel JO Yong-Mie (Nicola) Leemamol.

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Presentation on theme: "Poverty and Shame A study in eight countries Elaine Chase Sohail Choudhry Frederick Golooba-Mutebi Erika Gubrium Ivar Lødemel JO Yong-Mie (Nicola) Leemamol."— Presentation transcript:

1 Poverty and Shame A study in eight countries Elaine Chase Sohail Choudhry Frederick Golooba-Mutebi Erika Gubrium Ivar Lødemel JO Yong-Mie (Nicola) Leemamol Mathew Sony Pellissery Robert Walker YAN Ming

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3 Research and policy context: Towards a global conversation A globalised world Global governance Need to develop a global language –Of concepts –Not necessarily of words 3

4 Bridging languages Conceptual Equivalence– whether word means the same thing Functional Equivalence– whether the thing means the same, socially – causes and consequences; culturally – role and importance Metric Equivalence– whether differences in degree are similarly registered Political Equivalence– whether it is accorded similar priority 4

5 Towards a global language of poverty? 1.Absolute or relative? 2.Need or rights? 3.Poverty felt as shame? 5

6 Poverty rates in India, China and UK, 1990-2003 6

7 7 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

8 8 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

9 9 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

10 Human rights Distinction is made between rights and needs. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Is poverty –a per se violation of human rights or –a cause of human rights violations No right to be free from poverty 10 Individual needs impose no obligations on governments Rights do. ‘A right is something to which one is entitled solely by virtue of being a person. It is that which enables an individual to live with dignity’ (UNDP, 2003, p.1).

11 Human rights Distinction is made between rights and needs. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Is poverty –a per se violation of human rights or –a cause of human rights violations No right to be free from poverty 11 UN Millennium Declaration Affirmation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

12 Human rights Distinction is made between rights and needs. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Is poverty –a per se violation of human rights or –a cause of human rights violations? No right to be free from poverty 12

13 Human rights Distinction is made between rights and needs. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Is poverty –a per se violation of human rights or –a cause of human rights violations? No right to be free from poverty 13 International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights Recognises a right to an adequate standard of living

14 Shame & Amartya Sen 14 Capabilities Capabilities: the potential that people have to lead fulfilled and engaging lives Functionings: the facilities and resources required to enable people to achieve their capabilities Functionings

15 Shame & Amartya Sen 15 Capabilities Capabilities: the potential that people have to lead fulfilled and engaging lives Functionings: the facilities and resources required to enable people to achieve their capabilities Functionings ‘irreducible absolutist core in the idea of poverty’ is ‘the ability to go about without shame’ Shame

16 Universality of shame? ‘voices of the poor’ Is the shame attached to poverty universal and invariant? Children in Bangladesh, India and Moldova feel ‘marked’ by shabby clothing An unemployed father in Guinea-Bissau feels ashamed at being unable adequately to feed his children People in Armenia feel a lack of self-worth and loss of status at being unable to maintain basic hygiene Poverty in Madagascar is equated with the inability to adhere to local customs and norms In Britain, the word poverty itself is considered to be stigmatising and is shunned In Europe and North America poverty is experienced as personal failure in achievement-orientated societies 16 The Voices of the Poor study (Narayan et al., 2000a, b)

17 Universality of shame? Evidence from scholarship Shame is more prominent in collectivistic cultural societies than in individualistic ones (violation of social values) (pro: Benedict (1946), against Eid & Diener, 2001) Shame is a salient emotion in Confucian societies. Avoiding shame/losing face is of overriding concern (Ho et al., 2004) Linguistic representation of shame, guilt, and embarrassment is far richer in Chinese than in English (Wang & Fischer, 1994 ) Shame is experienced similarly across cultures as a generalised negative view of self involving feelings of inferiority, powerlessness and lack of dignity (Fontaine, 2006)

18 Why shame is important: conceptual equivalence? It may be how poverty is actually experienced/felt It is unpleasant, the opposite of well-being; ill- being: –Painful self-scrutiny leading to a sense of shrinking, of "being small” feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness. –Shame often leads to a desire to escape or to hide—to sink into the floor and disappear –Shame comes - in ‘losing face, failure and rejection by others’ - from the rejection of self, which may reach into the core of one’s being

19 Why shame is important: metric equivalence? If shame is universally associated with poverty and poverty invariably experienced as shame.....then... It may provide an equivalent concept and metric for global discourse on poverty at differing levels of economic development. 19

20 Why is shame important: functional equivalence? Because shame may be experienced in conditions over which we have no control, personal responsibility is not necessarily involved – there may be no escape ‘Shame is potentially more pervasive and incapacitating than guilt. It often persists like a psychic scar that stubbornly refuses to heal’ (Ho et al., 2004) Impacts on agency, health, welfare, disability and rehabilitation 20

21 The poverty/shame nexus? 21 Low social capital Poverty Low self worth Shame (ashamed) Lack of agency Social exclusion Shaming Society Moldova Poor people ‘are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.’ Argentina and Bulgaria Poor women are greater risk of sexual and physical abuse India Poor children are stigmatized by their teachers Kyrgyz Republic A young girl is called a ‘beggar’ for wearing clothing from humanitarian aid. Britain and US People view those who are poor as feckless or dishonest. Voices of the Poor (Narayan et al., 2000a, b)

22 The poverty/shame nexus? 22 Low social capital Poverty Low self worth Shame (ashamed) Lack of agency Social exclusion Shaming Society Shaming POLICY Kenya Women and youths are ‘treated worse than dogs’ at health clinics Bangladesh Dishonest officials discriminate against people in poverty who could not afford to offer bribes Ukraine Humiliation experienced at the unemployment office is ‘designed to chase the unemployed away’ Russia ‘Even the most needy are humiliated by having to take poor quality goods provided by the welfare office’. Europe Some social assistance and activation policies are stigmatising and reduce take-up Voices of the Poor (Narayan et al., 2000a, b)

23 Research goal and objectives 1.To explore the role of policy in influencing any possible relationship between poverty and shame in diverse cultural settings 1.China, Germany, India, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, United Kingdom, Uganda In order to achieve this, it is necessary: 2.To explore cultural conceptions/construction of shame 3.To explore if shame is associated with poverty 4.To explore how the general population conceptualise poverty and if they consciously or otherwise engage in the shaming of the poor 5.To examine if, and if so how, poor people experience shame 6.To examine how structure/delivery of policy might create or ameliorate poverty-induced shame

24 Research design Cultural conceptions of poverty 1 Engaging with the poor 2 Perspectives of general public 3 Policy analysis 4 Today

25 Conclusions If poverty-shame nexus is strong and universal: 1.It suggests a shared poverty experience across the global South and North Poverty-associated shame as a universal metric offers cultural, conceptual, functional, political equivalence A global language for policy discourse 2.It explains how poverty inhibits economic growth 3.If shame is antonym of dignity, connects the social right to inclusion with the human right to dignity. 4.Suggests that anti-poverty programmes that create/reinforce shame could prove counterproductive 5.Points to best-practice principles for policy design in the global South and North. 25 New hypothesis: Poverty is/has not always been associated with shame Traditional: Where poverty seen as fate, poor cannot be blamed for their poverty Modernisation: Where economic success is expected, those who are unsuccessful risk being held responsible for there own poverty. A common strategy CCTs is shame people into changing their ways. Shame-poverty nexus is likely to strengthen with increasing marketisation and globalisation.

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27 Research design Cultural conceptions of poverty 1 Engaging with the poor 2 Perspectives of general public 3 Policy analysis 4 Conceptual equivalence Functional equivalence

28 28 Poverty and shame in English Conceptual equivalence

29 Shame in Chinese: Conceptual equivalence 29 Shame is normally translated into a two-character compound chiru 恥辱 Chi 恥 is made up of a pictographic component: er: 耳 (ear, hearing) and an ideographic component: xin 心 (heart), meaning ashamed or humiliation Ru 辱 1. defile or stain 2. shame 3. wronged or injustice.

30 Shame in Chinese: Conceptual equivalence 30 Shame is normally translated into a two-character compound chiru 恥辱 Chi 恥 is made up of a pictographic component: er: 耳 (ear, hearing) and an ideographic component: xin 心 (heart), meaning ashamed or humiliation Ru 辱 1. defile or stain 2. shame 3. wronged or injustice.

31 Shame in Chinese: Conceptual equivalence 31 Shame is normally translated into a two-character compound chiru 恥辱 Chi 恥 is made up of a pictographic component: er: 耳 (ear, hearing) and an ideographic component: xin 心 (heart), meaning ashamed or humiliation Ru 辱 1. defile or stain 2. shame 3. wronged or injustice.

32 Poverty in Chinese 32 Poverty usually translated as pin qiong 贫穷 or pin kun 贫困 pin 贫 contains two components: bei 贝 from seashell and represents assets fen 分 division So pin 贫 means a shortage of assets resulting from division Qiong 穷 means “utmost”. Among the nearly 300 words containing qiong 穷, most relevant are: 1. equivalent to pin 贫 ; 2. extremely poor or without any assets 3. widower, widow, orphan, and lone elderly 4. desolate, wicked, etc. Kun 困 often combined with pin to refer to poverty. Kun originally meant an abandoned house, and evolved to relate to exhaustion, haggard, helpless, limited.

33 Poverty in Chinese 33 Poverty usually translated as pin qiong 贫穷 or pin kun 贫困 pin 贫 contains two components: bei 贝 from seashell and represents assets fen 分 division So pin 贫 means a shortage of assets resulting from division Qiong 穷 means “utmost”. Among the nearly 300 words containing qiong 穷, most relevant are: 1. equivalent to pin 贫 ; 2. extremely poor or without any assets 3. widower, widow, orphan, and lone elderly 4. desolate, wicked, etc. Kun 困 often combined with pin to refer to poverty. Kun originally meant an abandoned house, and evolved to relate to exhaustion, haggard, helpless, limited.

34 Poverty in Chinese 34 Poverty usually translated as pin qiong 贫穷 or pin kun 贫困 pin 贫 contains two components: bei 贝 from seashell and represents assets fen 分 division So pin 贫 means a shortage of assets resulting from division Qiong 穷 means “utmost”. Among the nearly 300 words containing qiong 穷, most relevant are: 1. equivalent to pin 贫 ; 2. extremely poor or without any assets 3. widower, widow, orphan, and lone elderly 4. desolate, wicked, etc. Kun 困 often combined with pin to refer to poverty. Kun originally meant an abandoned house, and evolved to relate to exhaustion, haggard, helpless, limited.

35 Functional equivalence - Pakistan: Purposive sample of Poets and Prose (short story writers) of Urdu POETSPROSE WRITERS Meer Taqi Meer (1723-1810) Nazeer Akbarabadi (1740-1830) Mirza Ghalib (1796-1869) Dr Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) Asmat Chugtai (1911-1991) Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) Karishan Chandar (1914-1977) Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi (1916-2006) Ashfaq Ahmed (1925-2004) 35

36 Urdu specimens: Nazeer Akbarabadi (1740-1830) Shamelessness of BeggaryPain of Poverty A clairvoyant beggar was once asked: Of what stuff are the moon and stars The beggar smiled and shook his head: God bless you, sir, the answer is only bread. For, the poor know no planets, no stars The thought of food our vision mars When the belly is empty, nothing feels good No taste for pleasure, only a craving for some food. The hungry cannot commune with God nor live the pious way. Bread alone inspires him to worship and to pray. It’s for food that some go strangely dressed. Some won’t bathe and let their hair grow unchecked. Another wears a kerchief tied around his head: All clever stratagems, all tricks are only for bread Only the poor know the pain of poverty! The poor know no politeness or formality They fall upon food with uninhibited alacrity Risking their lives for a piece of loaf And fighting like dogs over every bone. They become so mean and selfish in adversity. Only the poor know the pain of poverty! Distinguished scholars, of themselves so sure, Lose their confidence on becoming poor. Confused with hunger, they often see Day as night and A as B. However good a man, but if he is poor, He often is insulted and called a fool, a boor. Clothes torn, hair unkempt, un-oiled, Mouth parched, grimy teeth, body badly soiled. Ugly and grim are the faces of poverty. Only the poor know the pain of poverty!

37 37 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect There are various themes that have emerged from the review of Urdu literature. For the ease of analysis and discussion, they have been categorised under five major groups, as shown on the left. Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions

38 38 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Painful exposure of shame / Inadequacy Shame is painful in hiding but more so in exposure. Poverty shame affects judgement, behaviour, feelings Approach or withdrawal response An effort to redress before retreat or withdrawal. Poverty shame affects participation Material well being, Inferiority feelings, Apprehensions.

39 39 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Painful exposure of shame / Inadequacy Shame is painful in hiding but more so in exposure. Poverty shame affects judgement, behaviour, feelings Approach or withdrawal response An effort to redress before retreat or withdrawal. Poverty shame affects participation Material well being, Inferiority feelings, Apprehensions.

40 40 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions No Hope Fatalistic approach Death seen as the only escape from the trap Poverty of ambition Harshness of Poverty Structural Issues Beyond control Resentment & anger Anti social behaviour Smoking, drugs Reaction against the rich Inequality of the Poor Socio-economic Cultural aspects

41 41 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Poetry vs. Prose Absolute poverty Poverty shame affects dignity / self respect Conflicting thoughts Temporary spells of poverty. Material well being is respected Iqbal’s philosophy Poverty and Shamelessness There is no pride in starving / being poor Rebuking Sufism

42 42 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Contentment is respected Relative poverty In absolute poverty, it conflicts with lack of ambition / action. Cultural aspects Positive shame; modesty, courtesy, shyness etc. Family, relationships and individuality. Poor but generous Of the heart, ideas, love, warmth, hospitality. Shame of lineage and identity Caste system Humble background Shame of poverty seems to follow

43 43 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Contentment is respected Relative poverty In absolute poverty, it conflicts with lack of ambition / action. Cultural aspects Positive shame; modesty, courtesy, shyness etc. Family, relationships and individuality. Poor but generous Of the heart, ideas, love, warmth, hospitality. Shame of lineage and identity Caste system Humble background Shame of poverty seems to follow

44 China Poverty without shame Pre-modern Chinese society –Ascribed status with little possibility for upward mobility, means people have no choice but to accept their economic and social situation –Justified through Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism – Karma: when you are alive, you are a poor person; when dead, you are a poor ghost (Xiao Hong, 646). when a poor person dies, they may be reborn into a wealthy family (Han Shaogong). Communist Revolutionary China –Poverty is located in the perspective of class struggle; the suffering of people in poverty is caused by the wealthy; –The poor were told to take pride in their identity: the poor of the whole world belongs to one family, and we all have the same last name ‘the poor’; (390) “mud stuck with mud makes a wall; the poor help the poor to become the king.” (103) 44

45 India: “Kadha Parayumbol”, 2007 45 “Kadha Parayumbol” tells the plight of a poor “barber” who lives with his wife and three children in a village called Melukavu, of Kerala. Barber Balan (Sreenivasan) is struggling to survive in his traditional profession, as he cannot find anyone who would give him a loan to upgrade his “barber shop” without taking a bribe

46 46 Balan comes home. Sreedevi (Balan’s wife) greets him. Sreedevi: You haven’t got fish? Balan: (embarrassingly) I didn’t see fish when I reached the junction. Sreedevi: Then, did you get vegetables? Balan: No, I thought of making some chicken today. Sreedevi: Then, did you get chicken? Balan : (embarrassed) chicken, …. Here…and …there…. Sreedevi: our own chicken, I won’t allow. Oh, God! What will I give to children when they come home with empty stomach? Balan: Now, let me decide if you love children or chicken more. Sreedevi: Both are same to me. Today Sonamol (eldest daughter) was very sad to go to school. Balan: Why? What happened? Sreedevi: Today was the last date to pay her fees, and she’ll be out of the class if she fails to pay the same. For Seena and Sathyan, its okay, but Sona is in the 10 th Standard. We need to remember that. Balan: (head down with guilt and embarrassment) I need to get a new scissor and a revolving chair urgently. I heard that Eappachan has a huge “Angilee maram” tree in his land, which may be good for making a revolving chair. I’ll go there today. Sreedevi: whats the use of that? He won’t give wood without money. Moreover, he is a money lender who takes high interest. Balan: Now I’ll have a look at the tree and‘ll buy when I get money. Sreedevi: When will that be? Balan: aaatthe….. (mumbles). Sreedevi: Your pocket is empty, and that’s the reason you’ve not bought fish. Is it so? Couldn’t you borrow 10 rupees from someone in the next shop? Oh, you will not borrow; you are someone with too much of pride (“abhimani”). You know it is how many days since we bought some grocery. There’s nothing at home. Harshness of poverty Embarrassment Anguish of a poor housewife/mother Facial and other body signs of poverty induced shame Guilt for not earning enough Humiliation at home Ashamed to borrow money Unnecessary pride Aspirations for getting higher in business Defensive behavior of the poor Self-conscious behaviors “abhimani” – imply that poor has least right to have self-respect and honor India: “Kadha Parayumbol”

47 UK “All or nothing”, 2002 47 An apparently dysfunctional family comprising: Phil an apparently lazy but depressed tax-driver; long-term cohabitee Pen, working as a supermarket cashier; an obese silent daughter working as a cleaner in a care home; and an obese son, working age, but unemployed and not looking for work, come together as a consequence of the son suffering a heart attack. The alienation of mundane lives pressurised by limited income causes them to live alongside each other at a high pitch of anger and inner loneliness.

48 48 UK “All or nothing”, 2002 Scene: Phil looks for coins down side of sofa; in little pots on the mantlepiece. Goes at bedtime into daughter Rachel’s room: ‘Got any spare change..its me whatsaname tomorrow (rent for taxi radio)? I gotta pay it..I don’t na leave you short’ Goes to wife in bed reading, ‘I ain’t had a very good week’ Penny (wife’) ‘Ain’t ya’ Phil ‘No....got any spare? Penny ‘I gotta bit bit, but it ain’t really spare is it? Phil: ‘Can I borrow some, I’ll pay you back at the weekend’ Penny: ‘Why don’t you get up earlier in the morning..drive people to work, take ‘em to the airport Later Phil trying to return Penny her money at 3 in the morning He tries to repay her, but since she is half asleep, she tells Phil not to do it at that time. He still says that he would put them on the sideboard. Not having enough money, need to borrow Humiliation of asking daughter and wife, entering their bedrooms. Wife’s response is to make him feel inadequate Later transpires that he feels hated, not respected, ‘spoken to like a piece of shit’. Vulnerability to risk has a connection with vulnerability to shame.

49 Conclusions If poverty-shame nexus is strong and universal: 1.It suggests a shared poverty experience across the global South and North Poverty-associated shame as a universal metric offers cultural, conceptual, functional, political equivalence A global language for policy discourse 2.It explains how poverty inhibits economic growth 3.If shame is antonym of dignity, connects the social right to inclusion with the human right to dignity. 4.Suggests that anti-poverty programmes that create/reinforce shame could prove counterproductive 5.Points to best-practice principles for policy design in the global South and North. 49 It is not as straight forward as one might think

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51 51 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

52 52 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

53 53 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

54 54 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

55 55 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)

56 56 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions No Hope Fatalistic approach Death seen as the only escape from the trap Poverty of ambition Harshness of Poverty Structural Issues Beyond control Resentment & anger Anti social behaviour Smoking, drugs Reaction against the rich Inequality of the Poor Socio-economic Cultural aspects

57 57 Socio-Psychological Issues Poverty and Shame Themes Distress of Poverty and Shame Shame, dignity and Self Respect Socio-political thoughts Diversity of Opinions Capitalistic ways of shaming the poor working class 20 th c. literature Shaming the rich Shame in wealth accumulation At personal level Redistribution by state and society No shame for the working poor Thought existed in the 300 years old lit. Message of action in the political context. Charity / Helping out the poor Religious roots. Alleviating poverty and social exclusion.

58 58 Poverty rate: absolute/relative Source: China: Appleton, Song and Xia (2006) UK: DWP (2007)


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