Poverty as lack of autonomy: Bridging the absolute/relative divide?

OPHI Research in Progress

In this paper, we present a definition of poverty centred on the notion of autonomy, understood as self-rule, and articulated around the various rights and freedoms required for the existence and exercise of autonomy. This definition, we argue, can accommodate both the relative concept of deprivation proposed by Townsend and the absolute concept proposed by Sen, and thus help to provide a unified account of poverty that applies across low, middle and high income countries.

Citation: Silva Leander, S. (2012). 'Poverty as lack of autonomy: Bridging the absolute/relative divide?', OPHI Research in Progress 33a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

autonomy, self-rule

Sebastian Silva Leander
Series Name
OPHI Research in Progress
Publication date
Publication Number
RP 33a