Vinaya, Harshada (2019, October). Ideas, narratives and representations of poverty amongst the urban middle class in India. Journal of Poverty, 24(2), 113-129. (doi: 10.1080/10875549.2019.1668897) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2019.1668897)

Abstract: Defining and measuring poverty drives substantial part of the poverty research. However, poverty is not just a latent concept, but a lived experience-occurring in contexts and with others. This study empirically finds how the Indian urban-dwelling individuals, who self-identify with middle class, construct poverty. It uses the Social Representations Theory to identify themes within and observe interactions of knowledge. For the first time, Q-methodology is employed to study social representations, integrating it with semi-structured interviews. Factor analysis was performed on Q data using PQMethod and the qualitative interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis with Nvivo. Both the analyses report plurality in how poverty is constructed visually, in metaphors and in rationalities. Textual data demonstrate how individuals organize representations for their purpose and how the process of communicating about a phenomenon becomes a personal project of constructing the self.

Harshada Vinaya <harshada.vinaya@gmail.com> is in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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