Making Sense of Pathways Out of Poverty: Agency Capacity and Welfare Mobility

Poverty and Inequality Analysis

Is it people themselves or the environment around them that predominantly determines their course of life? The answer to this question has long been debated by social scientists. Some experts think that structural factors play a more important role in changing the community, while others think that individual (agency) factors have more of a significant role.

The Moving Out of Poverty study SMERU conducted in 2005 does not view structural and agency factors as a conflicting dualism. In contrast, the study carefully examines the dialectic between the two in influencing the community’s welfare mobility. As a sequal of Edition 24 of the SMERU newsletter (2007), which has outlined part of the research findings, this edition will explain various other findings highlighting the agency factor through various life stories of those who have successfully improved their welfare, and those who have fallen into poverty. By uncovering the agency factor, this study complements the macro picture of poverty by describing the reality experienced by individuals at the micro level.

To enrich this edition, sociologist Rochman Achwan provides a holistic view of poverty by bridging the significance of agency and structural factors.

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Rizki Fillaili
Rochman Achwan
Rochman Achwan
Research Topic 
moving out poverty
welfare mobility
Publication Type 
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