The module will aim to give an introduction to the disciplines of economics and anthropology through the topics of poverty and inequality. After reviewing the basic conceptual background the module will take as its point of departure the natural evolution of inequality within societies. Two theories by Kuznets and Piketty will be contrasted in assessing what forces act to increase or decrease the income gap. Later the notion of class is going to be introduced; by focusing on the means of elite groups to foster or hamper social mobility, with particular emphasis on the welfare state. Finally poverty is going to approached from the perspective of globalisation examining how incomes and inequality change as a result both in high and lower income countries. It is at this last part where the applied methods will shift more towards anthropology, with various ethnographies and the idea of “culture of poverty” being discussed. Overall the module will provide an opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with a wide range of social scientific methods – from various statistics through economic modeling and regression analysis to ethnography – and see how all of these are employed simultaneously to back often contradicting narratives in political debates on poverty.
Module Leader:Árpád Földessy