[CfP] Conference 2016 – Poverty Working Group

The economic crisis that started in 2007 has become the deepest global contraction since the 1930s, and the economic recovery has been the slowest and weakest on record. The costs of the crisis include a wave of unemployment and poverty that has only built on top on already existing pauperised working people. A whole generation, especially the youth, has been blighted by the crisis, which has had devastating consequences for hundreds of millions of people across the world. Austerity policies of unprecedented depth and severity have contributed decisively to this grim picture, and within Europe, Greek and Spanish governments leading the way.

The necessary destruction of capital for getting over the crisis has been burdened on the shoulders of working people, self-employed people, small business and small farmers. Lately, these people are receiving the direct or indirect effects of imperialist war with Syria in its epicenter. The immigrant waves have resulted in European countries closing their borders, blocking thus hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Balkan countries in extremely dangerous living conditions for themselves and the local population. It is beyond doubt that this will lead to an absolute lowering of the living standard in the receiving countries. Nevertheless, while absolute poverty is the most telling aspect of poverty, research in approaching this aspect is left aside, as well as the effect of the crisis and war in the pauperisation of people.

Within developed capitalist countries, (in the US, Europe and UK) the attack on the welfare state had started long before the crisis. The crisis has also generated an ideological offensive against the poor and benefit claimants, who are increasingly demonized and stereotyped as ‘welfare dependents’ which reinforces policies of means testing and conditionality. There was retreat on the satisfaction of needs socially and the responsibility for the provision of housing, health and education was gradually transformed from social to individual. The crisis has accelerated and deepened this process, while poverty has been undoubtedly exacerbated. In developing countries such as Latin America (Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador) some of the left wing governments have developed anti-poverty programmes and for the first time the poor have had a voice within the political process. Recent political changes signal a reversal of this evolution and there are questions about what the future holds for these welfare programmes.

The Poverty Working Group encourages contributions which shed light on critical theoretical approach of poverty and social needs. We are particularly interested in contributions that link theory to practice where there is an analysis of resistance and political mobilization around poverty highlighting strengths and weaknesses.

The panel is calling for papers which treat issues in the following topics:

  • Comparative analysis of contrasting definitions and approaches concerning the poverty threshold.
  • Theory of needs, definition and measurement of needs, poverty threshold as the necessary income covering needs.
  • Structure of households’ expenses
  • The relationship between the value of labour power and absolute poverty –the “reserve army of labor” and the “working poor”.
  • Methodological issues concerning the estimation of all necessary household expenses – food, shelter, clothing, health, transportation, education, childcare, recreation, telecommunications etc.
  • The welfare state, its retreat and the related rise of poverty
  • Poverty and immigrants, especially under the light of the recent events
  • Over-indebtedness in the EU and Greece. Causes and consequences of over-indebtedness. The impact of crisis on households’ budgets.
  • Recent institutional developments on personal bankruptcy
  • In this conference we particularly welcome papers that also focus on labour and popular mobilization against poverty, the living conditions of immigrants and the retreat of the welfare state. For example how and in what way are trade unions and other pro-workers organizations shaping anti-poverty discourses, what are their strategies – successes and weaknesses

Papers and stream proposals can be submitted on iippe.org by 1 April 2016, ticking the Poverty Working Group as pertinent to the proposal. Alternatively, please contact the Poverty Working Group coordinator George Labrinidis (geolabros@gmail.com).

For further information, please visit IIPPE website http://iippe.org/wp/

IIPPE Poverty Working Group


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