Poverty is an extremely complex phenomenon that is linked to many specific factors and contexts. In the present study, the dynamics of poverty – including movements out of poverty – are seen as part of the social mobility that occurs in a community. This study specifically aims to understand why and how a group of people in a community can move out of poverty, while other groups fall into or remain entrapped in poverty. Movement out of poverty is analyzed through the interactions between the agency of different actors and the opportunity structure within which they operate. Therefore, this study identified a number of structural and agency factors that influence movements out of poverty both at the individual/household and community level.
The study was conducted in Branta Pesisir, a coastal community that is located in Madura Island (Pamekasan District, East Java Province). The data has been collected by using a combination of qualitative (FGD, life story in-depth-interview, observation) and quantitative (household survey) methods. In Branta Pesisir, the dynamics of socioeconomic mobility are positively influenced by the accessible coastline and adequate public facilities (good roads and transportation). These factors have enabled community members to develop various livelihoods, so that they become less dependent on fisheries. Secondly, people’s open attitude to new elements, critical attitude to power, their ability to accept a variety of social differences, and the overall security in the village are important social conditions that can enhance prosperity. In addition, Branta Pesisir has various economic opportunities that enable villagers to diversify income sources to ensure a more stable economic condition. To support efforts for upward movement in these coastal communities, technical and financial assistance is needed to establish and manage the Fishermen’s Cooperative and public fish auction site. Fishers must be able to obtain cheap loans for their needs, and an auction site would prevent them from falling into debt with moneylenders or middlemen who force the fishers to sell their catch at low prices.