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Inequality and poverty

The ill-fitting pieces in the EU’s development partnerships

Riina Pilke and Marikki Stocchetti

European Union (EU) development policy—poverty eradication and sustainable development in developing countries—poses a challenge in itself to any external intervention. Adding a reduction of inequality to this equation as another emerging development policy

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Gauging inequality among pastoralists

A problem of comparison

Paul Spencer

Poverty is a relative concept that is most meaningful within the context of social inequality in a particular culture. Among pastoralists in east Africa, often with mixed economies and herds that tend to fluctuate erratically over time, the problem of assessing poverty and wealth can be resolved by examining profiles of polygyny to provide a comparable index of wealth. Several profiles are examined in relation to a mathematical model based on the binomial series, with an emphasis on its social rather than mathematical implications. These series are especially apt because they closely follow the distribution of wives in a substantial sample of African societies, and they reveal different types of balances between competition and conformity associated with age and with status. The purpose of this essay is to redefine the problem of poverty in terms of the social profiles of inequality, leading toward a comparative analysis between cultures.

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Yoram Ida, Amir Hefetz, Assaf Meydani, Gila Menahem, and Elad Cohen

intervention in the management of failing local governments. In light of the central role of national expenditures in determining inequality in access to resources and social opportunities for citizens, and the large portion of national spending that is

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Bina Fernandez

International migration in the contemporary era of globalization generates complex inequalities that require a non-statist approach to justice. This paper considers how the analysis of these inequalities may be fruitfully undertaken using Nancy Fraser’s framework of redistribution, recognition, and representation. The discussion uses empirical material from a case study of Ethiopian women who migrate as domestic workers to countries in the Middle East. The paper suggests potential directions for more transformative approaches to justice within the context of international migration.

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Alpa Shah and Sara Shneiderman

This is the introduction to a special section of Focaal that includes seven articles on the anthropology of affirmative action in South Asia. The section promotes the sustained, critical ethnographic analysis of affirmative action measures adopted to combat historical inequalities around the world. Turning our attention to the social field of affirmative action opens up new fronts in the anthropological effort to understand the state by carefully engaging the relationship between the formation and effects of policies for differentiated citizenship. We explore this relationship in the historical and contemporary context of South Asia, notably India and Nepal. We argue that affirmative action policies always transform society, but not always as expected. The relationship between political and socioeconomic inequality can be contradictory. Socioeconomic inequalities may persist or be refigured in new terms, as policies of affirmative action and their experiential effects are intimately linked to broader processes of economic liberalization and political transformation.

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The politics of affect

Perspectives on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism in the West

Sindre Bangstad, Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, and Heiko Henkel

two panels analyzed the question of what role inequality have played and continue to play in the rise of these social and political formations. The anthropological and other scholarly literature on affect is by now voluminous (see, e.g., Ahmed 2004

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Battlegrounds of dependence

Reconfiguring labor, kinship and relational obligation

Keir Martin, Ståle Wig, and Sylvia Yanagisako

–World War II mixed economy consensus in the late 1970s was the only period in human history in which inherited wealth inequality lessened in Europe and North America ( Piketty 2014 ). It is understandable that in this context the argument that kinship was

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Wolfgang Merkel and Jean-Paul Gagnon

challenges they face. And I think there are some dramatic challenges underway where democracy has so far not found very effective means to cope with them. One is the challenge of globalization and the other is the challenge of inequality. Gagnon: I’d like to

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Marcos S. Scauso, Garrett FitzGerald, Arlene B. Tickner, Navnita Chadha Behera, Chengxin Pan, Chih-yu Shih, and Kosuke Shimizu

As the specter of COVID-19 haunts the world, another specter—that of colonialism—has made a spectacular (re)appearance. Colonial continuities, as evidenced in myriad forms of inequality, discrimination, and violence, are prevalent throughout the

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Echoes of austerity

Policy, temporality, and public health in South Africa

Theodore Powers

debates on inequality, power, and temporality within anthropological circles ( Rakopoulos 2018 ). Indeed, central to the analysis of contemporary austerity in Europe have been accounts that frame austerity measures as a crystallization and intensification