Peter Townsend Memorial Conference website

Peter Townsend Memorial Conference website

ACADEMIC PANEL: CROP Scientific Director Asuncion Lera St. Clair chaired the session on "Poverty and Social Exclusion"

20 November 2009 | London, UK

The aim of the conference was to look forwards rather than only reminisce about the past. There were twenty speeches and over three hundred people participated.

CROP Scientific Director Asuncion Lera St. Clair chaired the session on "Poverty and Social Exclusion", this is her opening speech:

Peter Townsend's words on poverty research are fundamental for anybody who cares about the poor all over the world. Of course, his legacy is enormous and by investigating his legacy we learn from his work.

I want to talk very briefly about some key issues that I think are absolutely fundamental to rethinking poverty research all over the world today. One is, of course, Peter's work on conceptual issues and measuring deprivation and the idea that poverty is relative, that it is about human and social relations and that structural problems are fundamental. The pioneering work that he did on the politics of poverty and the politicisation of the scientific knowledge on poverty has – and it still continues to have – a significant impact for all of us who care and wish to fight this politicisation.

I want to say something about what I think is one of the most important legacies, the most recent legacy of his work, and that is how Peter Townsend managed to make the connections between poverty in advanced economies and in the rest of the world. There is a quote in the memorial booklet that says;

It is no longer acceptable to write about the problems of Mr and Mrs Smith and their three children as the “problem" of poverty. Governments, multi-national corporations and international associations (like the World Bank, IMF, UNDP, WHO, etc) are an intrinsic part of the problem. The policies of these bodies which shape the lives and living standards of Mr and Mrs Smith and their three children are intrinsic to this family's problem of poverty.

This is very important. The poverty in the world is intrinsically linked to social relations occurring in advanced economies.

Peter put forward the idea that in order to address the global problem of poverty, one of the tools and instruments that we have are global normative discourses, in particular, the human rights declarations as ways to move forward and we need to really use these further in our work. In CROP, which is in a period of renewal and reorganisation, we are building on this legacy by focussing on mobilising critical research for preventing and eradicating poverty. What we wish to do is to link the dialogue occurring in this room with the dialogue that is occurring amongst people who work on global poverty in the south rather than have two separate boxes of research. The most important way to move forward, and honour the legacy of Peter Townsend is to work together and to bring together these two bodies of knowledge.

A second Peter Townsend Memorial Conference will be held in Bristol over the weekend January 22-23, 2011. The primary topic will be the
measurement of poverty.

Click here to visit the website


CROP News and Events

CROP-GRIP Newsletter 2019-2020

March 2020

This special issue newsletter is the final one for CROP and the first one for GRIP. It explains the transition process and provides an overview of CROP activities in 2019.

The Politics of Social Inclusion: From Knowledge to Action

15 November 2019 | UN Library, GENEVA

BOOK LAUNCH for forthcoming CROP/UNESCO publication (as part of UNRISD Seminar Series)

Putting Children First: New Frontiers in the Fight Against Child Poverty in Africa

18 October 2019 | Brighton, UK

BOOK LAUNCH and workshop at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, UK

News from CROPNET