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The shame of itGlobal perspectives on anti-poverty policies$
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Erika K. Gubrium, Sony Pellissery, and Ivar Lødemel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447308713

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447308713.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Thick poverty, thicker society and thin state: policy spaces for human dignity in India

Thick poverty, thicker society and thin state: policy spaces for human dignity in India

(p.37) Three Thick poverty, thicker society and thin state: policy spaces for human dignity in India
The shame of it

Sony Pellissery

Leemamol Mathew

Policy Press

Poverty is a widespread everyday experience in India, where it intersects with other social differentiations, particularly, in terms of caste and tribe. Exploitation at the societal level contributes to the making of poverty. Paradoxically, social bonds are crucial for the day-to-day living of most of those living in poverty in India. This seeming contradiction is evident within the representation of poverty, its discourses on the subcontinent and the shame that is attached to being poor. At one level, the hierarchical structure of society enables poor people to accept poverty passively, while at another level, the sense of moral economy forces those better off to reach out to the poorer sections of society. This ambivalence is reflected in the frames of poverty discourse surrounding anti-poverty policies. Though India has witnessed impressive economic growth in recent times, policy responses to address poverty remain archaic due to a straight-jacketed bureaucracy and democracy, seemingly unable to catch up with identity politics. This chapter captures these issues as it charts several conflicting anti-poverty discourses concerning different social groups experiencing poverty, and explores how perceptions of these groups frame the issues that find their way into policy corridors.

Keywords:   India, social hierarchy, caste system, policy limitations, corruption

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