Poverty is ‘big business’. Donor funds are set to increase substantially as the UN millennium targets—to eradicate extreme poverty and halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015—seem ever more out of reach. Small wonder that social science methods to assess levels of poverty and the results of development projects have become a hot issue, too. As much of the research on poverty directly feeds into policy making and donor strategies, people are rightly concerned about its quality. Anthropology has a stake in this debate: despite the hegemony of quantitative methods in development research, participatory rural appraisals and poverty assessments have always drawn upon anthropological methods. One might wonder what happens to these qualitative methods in research that aims to establish quantitative levels of poverty.
Imperial crisis and the millennium goals
Food security, technology, and the global commons—'New' political dilemmas?
While in many places of the world people are starving from hunger, in other regions we are deeply concerned with the quality of our abundant food. The mad cow disease that broke out some years ago in the UK was a reason for many people to stop eating beef or meat altogether— especially after several dreadful documentaries of patients with the Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome, the human variety of the mad cow disease.