Social Quality, Community Capacity, and Capability Poverty of Urban Residents in Shenzhen, China

in The International Journal of Social Quality
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Abstract

Poverty is generally viewed in traditional understandings as merely lowness of income, so its noneconomic aspects and dynamic characteristics are neglected. Conversely, Amartya Sen has argued that poverty must be seen as the deprivation of basic capabilities—the substantive freedoms a person enjoys to lead the kind of life they have reason to value. Based on Sen’s capability poverty theory, this article examines the influence of social quality and community capacity on Chinese urban residents’ capability poverty. The social quality perspective assesses societal progress and refers to four conditional factors: socioeconomic security, social inclusion, social cohesion, and social empowerment. Our data analysis from a survey undertaken in Shenzhen indicates that socioeconomic security, social cohesion, and social empowerment can effectively alleviate capability poverty. Community capacity was also an influential factor for capability poverty of urban residents. According to these findings, future anti-poverty projects should focus on improving social quality and community capacity.

Contributor Notes

Xu Yanhui is a professor of sociology at Xiamen University, a board member of the Social Policy Committee of the Chinese Sociological Association, and an awardee of the “Excellent Talent of the New Century” program (2007) administrated by the Department of Education, China. Yanhui’s main research interests include social policy, social quality, social welfare, and economic sociology. Yanhui is the author of Education Aid and Social Mobility (Xiamen University Press, 2012) and Social Quality, Social Construction and Happiness (Xiamen University Press, 2018). Yanhui’s articles have appeared in journals such as Sociological Studies, Social Sciences in China, Comparative Economic and Social Systems, and the CASS Journal of Political Science. E-mail: xuyanhui1965@163.com.

Gong Ziyu is a PhD in sociology, an editor of the Journal of Shenzhen University (Humanities and Social Sciences), and a member of the Family Sociology Committee of the Chinese Sociological Association. Her main research interests are social quality and social work, and her publications have appeared in journals such as Fujian Tribune, the Journal of Social Science of Hunan Normal University, and the Social Science Journal. E-mail: gongziyu0506@szu.edu.cn.

The International Journal of Social Quality

(formerly The European Journal of Social Quality)

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