Poverty, Security and the Janus-Faced State

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Abstract

In this article Polanyi's double move and Wæver's securitisation argument inform an analysis of poverty as a security issue. The inclusion of poverty on the security agenda confirms and complicates, rather than marginalises, the state as a central referent of security. It is argued that analytically and pragmatically qualitative and socially contextualised analysis of poverty offers deeper understanding than quantitative approaches. It is also argued that the rhetoric of inclusion currently espoused by the likes of the World Bank seeks to secure institutional hegemony rather than state or human security. Neo-liberal solutions to poverty premised on growth, as opposed to redistribution, mean that the states and peoples poorly equipped to compete in the capitalist game will remain impoverished. Markets and neo-liberal institutions serve to splinter, rather than coalesce, state and society.

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