Elite attitudes towards the poor and pro-poor policy in Malawi

Kalebe-Nyamongo, Chipiliro Florence (2012). Elite attitudes towards the poor and pro-poor policy in Malawi. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis uses the theory of ‘social consciousness’ to analyse elite perceptions of poverty in Malawi,and identify the circumstances under which elites are willing to mobilize resources for poverty reduction. ‘Social Consciousness theory’ stipulates that pro-poor policies in European welfare states developed as a result of ideological and pragmatic concern about the negative impact of poverty on elite welfare. This study shows however that although elites in Malawi have a deep understanding and appreciation of the extent and severity of poverty and are linked with the poor through strong social networks and the extended family structure, they do not perceive the poor as a threat to their welfare. Therefore collective action to address the problem of poverty has not occurred. In circumstances where elites acknowledge some negative externalities of poverty requiring action, individual solutions are sought. However, elite perceptions still illuminate the following: first, there is a causal explanation between elites’ perceptions of the causes of poverty and their support for particular policies. Second, elites’ perceived causes of poverty include structural, behavioural and the perceived future actions of the poor, such as laziness, following implementation of redistributive policies. Third, elites’ seem to support policies with wider benefits for society.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of International Development
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3398


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