Survival and emotions in poverty narratives
(Migration Institute of Finland)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on what living in poverty means culturally and socially in everyday lives of the poor. Emotions and feelings related to varied daily practices and routines will be analysed in order to get a deeper understanding of what poverty really means as a (forced or non-optional) way of life.
Paper long abstract:
Studies on poverty in developing countries focus for the most part on poor people's income as well as material conditions and other measurable (such as housing or level of education) aspects of poor people's lives. When development is understood solely as something aimed at improving people's financial and material conditions, feelings and emotions raised and experiences obtained by those living their everyday lives in poverty without a view of a better life are not taken into account as something worth studying or understanding. As ethnologist I'm not interested in measuring poverty. Instead, I want to focus on what living in poverty means culturally and socially in a communal level as well as in the lives of individuals. In this paper, based on ethnographic research in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I argue that more attention should be paid to emotions and feelings as a meaningful aspect of experiencing poverty. This also goes for narratives focusing, for example on women's livelihoods, since emotions and feelings related to varied daily practices and routines can reveal a deeper understanding of what poverty really means as a (forced or non-optional) way of life.
Narratives on agency, well-being and everyday lives in real and imagined societies