Elite Perceptions of the Poor: reflections on a comparative research project. In: Elisa P. Reis & Mick Moore (Eds): Elite Perceptions of poverty and inequality. London/New York: ZED Books, 2005. Pp. 182-194.


Little is known about the ways in which the elites perceive the poor, especially in those societies where poverty is most prevalent.
The poor are dependent on the elites, but the elites are also affected by the poor: their presence creates negative external effects in the lives of the elites (threats such as crime, contagion, pollution, vagrancy and rebellion) but they also represent opportunities for the established strata (as potential workers, soldiers and, more recently, as consumers and voters). Members of the elites cannot ward off these threats, or realize the opportunities on their own: that requires collective action on their part.
Thus, an awareness of these interdependencies and a sense of responsibility among the elites, a `social consciousness’, may well be a necessary condition for intervention to reduce poverty. This article presents the theoretical and methodological reflections underlying a comparative research project into elite perceptions of poverty. Read more….