Poverty and the controversial work of nonprofits

August 30, 2017 Published by

This article by Michael Jindra and Ines W. Jindra at the University of Notre Dame explores the differences between “relational” approaches to poverty vs. the “structural” approaches. (Yes, there is a divide here too!) Bridges and Getting Ahead are mentioned as one model that addresses poverty both ways.

Abstract

There has been a significant shift among antipoverty nonprofits toward what we call “relational work,” which involves working with clients over time on life changes. Some scholars discuss this, often in negative terms, as part of a broader neoliberal trend. We argue that relational work is an important and unavoidable part of ongoing efforts against poverty and homelessness. We also discuss the broader theoretical context that makes scholars suspicious of this kind of antipoverty work, and argue for a multifaceted approach to poverty that includes attention to relational work and the agency of clients.

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This post was written by Philip DeVol

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