The polyscopic landscape of povert research. "State of the art" in International Poverty Research. An overview and 6 in-depth studies.
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In August 2004 the Research Council of Norway announced tenders for a “State-of-the-art” report within international poverty research, with special focus on institutions and rights. The Research Council wanted the report to give an overview over what is the present state of knowledge in the field, indicate where the frontiers of research are, identify what the most pressing needs for new knowledge are, and suggest how Norwegian expertise can contribute to poverty research in the South. The size of the report is limited to 100 pages. The Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) was successful with its tender. The contract (Project No. 168080/S30) with the Research Council was signed by both parties during the second half of October 2004, and the contract period was set to 4 months. The final report was to be delivered 1.05.2005 at the latest. The project description provided by CROP for the tender competition takes as its starting point that, within the framework of such a report, it is at present not possible to give more than a limited overview of the frontiers of international poverty research. Poverty research comprises a vast area of different scientific disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches, within clearly opposing paradigms. No common platform has been established for the scientific evaluation of the field in general, and the validity of presented research results is often difficult to judge as some of the research is mixed with political interests and/or particular moral values. In this situation CROPs proposal was to use its own knowledge base to 1) give an overview of where a selection of major approaches to poverty research are presently located in the field of international science and present some of the current paradigmatic approaches, and 2) single out five topics for in-depth case studies to present frontiers of research within different areas of international poverty research and define new questions to be explored, and 3) use this material to say something about what are the most pressing needs for new knowledge in international poverty research and how this may be reflected in future studies in the South. The project is designed to meet the requirements of the Research Council which is to focus on institutions and rights and contribute to knowledge development of special importance for poverty reduction and national welfare strategies in the South. CROP hereby presents the Report from the project. It has been developed in close cooperation with scholars in the South and other members of the CROP international network of poverty researchers, see Appendix B. Very special thanks go to the main collaborators who have taken charge of the case studies. The results of their work appear in chapters IV-IX. CROP, however, bears the sole responsibility for the contents of the Report.