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Poverty and Social Psychology: The Importance of Integrative Manner

Written By

Filiz Çömez Polat

Submitted: 14 November 2020 Reviewed: 05 January 2021 Published: 19 February 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.95833

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As one of the most important social problems in the world, poverty has been studied by various disciplines. Although poverty is a basic subject of economics, it has also become one of the prominent research fields of social sciences in recent years. Poverty also relates to many psychological processes and mechanisms just as in the other social problems in the world. It is assumed that the social-psychological approach to poverty may contribute to establishing different road maps in combating poverty. Therefore this study aims at contributing to poverty reduction efforts from the social-psychological point of view by providing an integrative review of the social psychological correlates of poverty based on the empirical findings. Also, by including arguments such as social identity, migration, ideology and social context in poverty studies to be conducted with a social psychological perspective, a contribution can be made to poverty reduction with multidimensional research methods.


  • poverty
  • psychological processes
  • poverty reduction
  • integrative manner
  • qualitative research
  • quantitative research

1. Introduction

Poverty has been increasing in parallel with globalization, which is characterized by rapid technological developments and different political and economic balances [1]. Although there are aspects of information and technology that facilitate human life, these advances do not bring the same prosperity for everyone. It is known that not everyone lives equally well or easily, and some masses lack even the basic needs. Therefore, poverty is a phenomenon that affects large social groups, and its individual and social consequences have been tried to be overcome.

There are numerous studies on poverty and combating poverty. These studies generally focused on the definition of poverty, economic analysis, and economic effects of poverty with globalization and social rights [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. According to the general definition, poverty refers to the deprivation of economic, material, and cultural resources, and the deprivation of welfare [10, 11]. While another definition of poverty describes poverty as a permanent or temporary lack of quality, technical, physical strength, intellectual ability, freedom, and individual dignity [12], different types of poverty are also mentioned in the literature, such as female poverty, child poverty, urban–rural poverty, etc. [13]. Consequently, poverty has multiple dimensions, and diverse effects, and it might be addressed regarding its economic, political, individual, and social basis [14, 15, 16, 17].

For psychological inquiry, it seems crucial to make a distinction between the two different conceptualizations of poverty in order understand psychological aspects of poverty: absolute poverty and relative poverty [18, 19, 20]. Absolute poverty is defined as the state in which individuals do not afford to buy their basic needs, and the inability of the household or individual to attain the minimum welfare level that can sustain their lives. In other words, absolute poverty refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which usually includes food, water, hygiene, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education [21]. This definition indicates the inadequacy of material/economic resources and accepts everyone who is below certain standards as poor wherever they are in the world [22]. The data showed that over 1 billion of the approximately 2.8 billion poor in the world live in absolute poverty (living with an income of less than $ 1–1.5 per day according to World Bank) [23]. On the other hand, relative poverty refers to the state in which individuals are below a certain rate of the average welfare level of the society and have been spending below a certain limit according to the general level of the society [24]. Relative poverty is related to the unequal distribution of resources or power in a society in which some people lack the adequate resources to live in the standard they desire, while others do not [18]. Therefore, relative poverty is based on economic inequality in society, which exists largely and persistently all around the world. In addition to the material disadvantages and economic insecurity, relative poverty has some severe social-psychological consequences, such as reduced self-esteem, feelings of disrespect, and humiliation [25, 26, 27].

From the different definitions and forms of poverty mentioned above, one can ask that who are these individuals who are absolutely and relatively poor? A poor person is usually described as the one who cannot have sufficient economic resources to buy basic needs [28, 29, 30]. Poor people are also defined referring to Lewis’s [31] concept of “culture of poverty”. The “culture of poverty”, which is learned in the family and tends to be passed down from generation to generation, includes normative patterns acquired by the poor as a group rather than from the economic side [10, 31]. In other words, poverty culture points to a common set of attitudes and behaviors that develop depending on the conditions [32]. But we cannot say that “every poor has the characteristics of poverty culture”. It may change depending on the culture, historical, and economic context and from person to person. In other words, the person might be “poor” according to the official criteria, but may not perceive himself/herself as poor when he/she compares himself/herself to “another individuals or groups who are poorer. And also, a poor society may not have the characteristics of a culture of poverty mentioned above (see also [33, 34]). This situation shows that social sciences should discuss poverty as a multidimensional construct with its different aspects/results and processes. Although individual perceptions are not sufficient in understanding the dynamics of poverty, the interaction between individual perceptions and societal values and norms should be taken into account. Therefore, this review paper aims to present social psychological findings within a theoretical framework in an integrative manner. The distinctive feature of this study is that it considers poverty as a “process“, rather than a psychological “situation”. The association of the information resulting from the handling of the psychological processes in a multidimensional or integrative methodological manner with the steps to be taken towards poverty alleviation indicates the methodical framework of this study. The proposed framework also emphasizes the continuity of the interrelation of psychological and socio-political processes. It is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

The analytical framework for the social psychological assessment of poverty.

This study aims to rethink the shortcomings of approaches analyzing poverty, poverty processes, and integrative methodological framework. In other words, this study underlines that social psychology should approach poverty analyzes in an integrative manner. So, it strives to emphasize a social psychological understanding that can establish relations with different disciplines to eliminate the poverty problem. In this context, it is a literature review study that focuses on the shortcomings of the methodological and theoretical stance of social psychology in poverty studies, rather than a direct critical approach. It is also explained why existing social psychological approaches to the aforementioned deficiencies and poverty do not contribute to overcoming the poverty problem. The integrative approach proposed as an alternative to these explanations; and how and in what direction the steps to be taken towards poverty alleviation can be guided.

Two questions related to the purpose and methodological stance of this review has been determined: (1) which social psychological arguments make poverty more explainable? And (2) what role does the proposed integrative approach to poverty analysis play in ending poverty and how is this new analytical framework set up? To find answers to these questions, firstly, previous studies about poverty in social psychology literature will be explained. Afterward, a discussion will be held on how to establish an integrative approach that can guide poverty to make it clearer and eliminate it.


2. Previous social psychological accounts of poverty

When we look at the relationship between psychology and poverty, we see three major study routes. These routes are causal attributions of poverty, personality characteristics of the poor, and psychological outcomes of poverty [35]. Several studies were conducted on social psychological perspective are often intended to establish individual characteristics or attributions by others of how poor people look or who they are [36, 37].

2.1 Causal attributions of poverty

The area on which social psychology focuses mostly is poverty attributions [3, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46]. The ways of explaining poverty and the perceived causes of poverty are frequently studied regarding causal attributions on poverty in social psychology [47]. Causal attributions of poverty are generally evaluated in three dimensions: individual, structural and fatalistic. Individual attributions include lack of effort, failure, and laziness of the poor; structural attributions focus on the social and economical system and the state policies; and lastly, fatalistic attributions refer to bad luck and fate [48]. Feagin [49] found that in the United States people had attributed poverty to individual factors to a great extent (53%), and structural factors (22%). Fatalistic factors were the least attributed factor (18%) when explaining the causes of poverty. It was also claimed that the structural factors are two-dimensional rather than being a single dimension: “economic-structural” (low wages, lack of job opportunities) and “bias-structural” (prejudice and discrimination against the poor, lower wages for women) [50].

In another study Birdsall and Hamovdi [38] in which structural causes are synthesized together with cultural attributes, the economic and administrative foundations that cause poverty were evaluated through cultural characteristics. When we look at the causal attributions of poverty in different geographies/cultures, we come across different results. Hine and Mouitel [48] investigated the attributed causes of poverty comparing Canadian and Filipino participants. They found that the Canadian participants attributed poverty to natural causes (climate, location) and the conflict, while Filipinos tended to blame the poor and poverty itself. Besides, different groups within the same cultural setting were found to tend to explain the causes of poverty (i.e. liberals emphasized structural and social factors more frequently than conservatives). Similarly, Solak and Göregenli [47] showed that the poverty attributions have three dimensions in Turkey: individual (personal responsibility, hardworking and personal effort), structural and fatalistic. Moreover, migration emerged as another factor that was attributed as a cause of poverty in this study. In other words, the “rural to urban migration process” is pointed to as the cause of poverty. It is discussed in section 3.2 below that migration is a factor that needs to be discussed in detail, rather than a causal attribution in social psychology studies. Although these studies investigate poverty from different ideological and structural perspectives, the focus of all is the same: the causes of poverty. Exploring the causal attributions for poverty may contribute to poverty reduction but it would fall short of explaining the social psychological processes and the dynamic interaction between individual and social-structural factors that underlie poverty [34].

2.2 Poverty as a process

In the literature, there are criticisms towards approaches that point out that poverty is a situation rather than a dynamic process and there are opinions that psychology remains “indifferent” in combating poverty (see also [51]). Accordingly, although poverty constitutes an important subject on which psychologists have focused directly for a considerable amount of time, the majority of studies have taken the form of an individual-level analysis, and have usually failed to take into account interactional, contextual, and hierarchical aspects. For instance, focusing on the poor as separate individuals, such as emphasizing their attributes as being passive, leads eventually to appointing blame to the poor themselves for the situation from which they suffer [34]. There are also opinions that poverty takes up a little place in social psychology, assuming that it is a subject that does not attract much attention and has no “popularity” (see also [52, 53]). Lemieux and Pratto [54] argue that social relations in the allocation of economic resources, and therefore the phenomenon such as violence, prejudices, social dominance, and discrimination play a role in the continuation of poverty. For this reason, we should focus on social psychological processes in the understanding of poverty and contextual relationships that cause poverty to continue. In this regard, psychological dynamics and processes associated with poverty seem crucial as they would provide clues about the solution of the problem and contribute to the theoretical explanation of poverty from a social psychological perspective. Also, the studies of the psychological process can provide foresight to what complementary arguments are needed in social psychology’s discourse and its suggestions for combating poverty.

Psychological processes may be related to the way the poor perceive themselves. A study with blue-collar participants working in different sectors (e.g. working as taxi drivers, doormen, cleaners) in Turkey was asked to define “who the poor is” [8]. Results indicated that they define poor as those who live in worse conditions than themselves. Consistent with their poor definition they did not perceive themselves as poor when they compared themselves with the poorer. Besides, the study showed that one out of every three people in Turkey (77%) believed that poverty is overcome by individual efforts. Another study directly addressed poor people and investigated their subjective perceptions on poverty in the framework of Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner, [55] (Akfırat et al. [34]. In this study, it was found that the strategies to cope with poverty by poor people change as a function of whether they acknowledge that they were a part of the poor group, and whether they perceive poverty as changeable and illegitimate. Specifically, the results show that poor people who did not perceive themselves as poor, though they were poor according to official criteria, preferred creative and individual strategies to get rid of poverty.

In a similar vein, Jetten and Peter [56] discuss the role of social identity, social comparison, power, and ideological relations and group dynamics that help to understand economic inequality. The authors concluded that it is necessary to emphasize specific group dynamics for different societies in terms of economic inequality and poverty. There are also studies explaining that an unequal socio-economic structure increases social comparison between individuals and groups, reveals competition, and some groups seek self-esteem [57, 58, 59]. It is seen that these studies which predict that economic inequality can have harmful psychological consequences focus on the importance of social comparison processes. The system that allows people to think that they will have beter living conditions if they spend more effort individually make people compare themselves with those who are in better conditions. However, in most cases, poverty is independent of individual effort. Therefore when people do not reach the desired conditions they tend to blame themselves.

Xiemenes et al. [60] focus on the perception of poverty in the frame of community psychology, the historical and social background of poverty in the context of Brazil and Latin American countries were investigated. The researchers pointed out the roles of migration, slavery, and violence in the emergence and perpetuation of poverty. Thus, the importance of historical-cultural background in understanding and combating poverty were emphasized. The researchers also mentioned the need for examining poverty on academic-social and political grounds, and the importance of knowing the poor population well, determining their needs and, taking political steps to provide better conditions. Guzzo [61] also emphasizes that psychological inquiry should focus on the political attitude when combating poverty. On the other hand, Okoroji et al. [62] prioritize the importance of the social-psychological analysis of marginalization towards the poor addressing the relationship of poverty with the representations produced in the media and politics is expressed. Many studies that focus on the multidimensional evaluation of poverty also point to suggestions for reducing or ending poverty. Especially in index studies created through data collected from different countries contain the effects of emergent conditions such as COVID-19 [63, 64]. From this point of view, it emerges that these emergent conditions and psychological processes should be evaluated from a socio-political perspective.

2.3 Outcomes of poverty

We have said that the psychological approach to poverty generally focuses on the possible consequences of poverty and marks poverty as a “condition” [51]. The first psychological study on the consequences of poverty was Lewis’ [65] work in which he explained the particular behavioral patterns of the poor that are transmitted down from generation to generation through socialization processes. It means that the values and behaviors of the poor become determinants of the lower socio-economic status. Some studies have focused on the personality characteristics and traits of the poor such as lack of entrepreneurial personality, lack of participation in political and association activities, lack of purpose towards career goal [35, 66, 67, 68]. Some other works investigated the effects of poverty on emotions, cognitive skills, and mental health [69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77].

Research shows that other than the material difficulties, being poor is also associated with stigma, feelings of worthlessness, and it is negatively related to individual well-being [59, 72, 78, 79, 80, 81]. For example, Moussa-Smona [80] found that economically vulnerable people have a lower level of subjective well-being and life satisfaction than those who are more secure. Similarly, Okoroji et al. [62] showed that stigmatization processes produced by representations in media and politics make poor people suffer from marginalization, which in turn causes vulnerability for psychological distress. Another study demonstrates that social injustice and poverty increases negative child experiences [82]. Some other studies focus on poverty in third- world countries which point to similar negative psychological outcomes (see also [83, 84]).

While there has been robust evidence that poverty reduces the indicators of well-being, some scholars discuss that focusing on negative individual outcomes might buffer the efforts of reducing poverty. Such a state is conceptualized as a “poverty trap” in which an individual believes that s/he cannot escape unless an extremely large change takes place, such as a dramatic improvement in their economic situation (see also [85]) [51, 86, 87]. According to another critical approach, negative outcome oriented-research reinforces the prejudices and stereotypes imposed on the poor and points to anger or accusatory feelings. The psychology of being poor and the mental and behavioral patterns that may arise in both adults and children as a result of poverty are the basis of these studies.


3. Discussion and conclusion

Traditional psychological works related to poverty have been criticized as being reductionist and individualistic, and as being far from discussing its contextual dimensions [88, 89]. Connolly [90] states that psychological studies that analyze the perception of poverty should be analyzed not only to environmental factors but also to include genetic, physical, familial, social, political factors. Carr and Sloan [91] argue that social psychological studies on poverty can be developed to be part of a global effort to reduce poverty without pathologizing poverty. In another word, psychological studies that can show the ability to progress in line with a global awareness in combating poverty should be increased. Yet, studies that focus solely on poor people can buffer the efforts to combat poverty and may prevent the multi-dimensional analysis of poverty. Therefore, social-psychological findings that can help develop strategies seem important rather than initiatives that can limit our understanding of both poverty and the poor [92]. At this point, it would be good to discuss the answer to the first question of this study (which social psychological arguments does poverty become more explainable?) that will provide a methodological framework. Below are the social-psychological arguments that should be included in the analysis and the suggestions:

3.1 Social psychological arguments and class-based approach

When the fact that poverty is ultimately a class-based problem juxtaposes with some of the arguments of social psychology, a significant contribution can be made to the literature. For example, social identity perception seems to be an argument that can make this contribution. Social identity and its arguments have a rich literature on the issue of poverty. It is possible to think about poverty with many arguments of Social Identity Theory [55] (such as social comparison, social mobility, intergroup conflict, in-group−/out-group perception). In this sense, poverty is a social category; It would not be wrong to point out poor individuals as a disadvantaged social identity. Departing from the process of different groups perceiving each other; class clues can be caught on the distinction between rich and poor. In other words; with the right questions to be asked for social comparison processes, class-level evaluation can be made. For example; with whom do the poor compare themselves and how do they perceive them? This question is important in two ways. It is important both in understanding the place of poor groups in the social hierarchy and in understanding how they evaluate the situation (poverty). In other words, it may be useful to discuss the perceptions of the poor as a group rather than the individuals. The economic conditions in which the individual lives, his/her contact with people living in better or worse conditions than himself, the existence of comparison groups (rich people) seem crucial in assessing his poverty situation [34]. That is, poor people’s perception about their poverty may not be straightforward in the sense that she might categorize herself in the class system as the rich, the very rich, the poor, and the very poor depending on what groups she compares herself to. So, their perception of poverty does not change/changes or whether they see it legitimate or not can be revealed. It may be inevitable that the perception in question makes the distinction between the rich and the poor, which indicates income inequality, visible. In other words, it may be easier to handle the perception of being in a disadvantaged position within a class framework. And also, if we think together with the background of social identity theory; The question of which strategies (strategies to cope with disadvantage situation: individual, creative and collective) to choose to deal with poverty is also important. The question of why these strategies are preferred and which factors are effective in these preferences will also contribute to the research process. Therefore, rather than taking poverty as a static and stable phenomenon; the dynamic, political, class-based, and interactive account of poverty would provide a new basis for discussion on the poverty combating strategies. To add with the social identity perspective; the danger of stigmatization of the poor as an outgroup is also another responsibility for social psychologists. According to Fell and Hewstone [71], intergroup contact can be established to reduce stereotypes and prejudices in the context of in-group-outgroup perceptions, and thus self-efficacy perception of poor can develop. The purpose of providing communication/contact between groups requires focusing on social and psychological processes. As mentioned before, individual attributions-based studies on poverty may reinforce prejudices and stereotypes towards poor people. Starting from the idea that poverty is built or sustained through a social structure and social relations Perez et al. [93], a researcher should be aware of the scientific methodology used in his/her poverty research that may increase the negative effects of poverty.

Another area in which the class-based approach should be visible in poverty studies conducted with a social psychological perspective is related to causal attributions. We mentioned before the studies conducted on the causal attributions of poverty and the missing points of these studies. Learning the references to the causes of poverty will undoubtedly contribute to the field, but may not lead to steps to be taken to alleviate poverty. Therefore, as we mentioned above, it is to include the citations of the rich and the poor to the issue and try to understand why they need these citations. Because understanding the need in question will help us to reveal the discourses that perpetuate or legitimize poverty. The point that should be emphasized in the poverty attribution of people who are economically located in different classes is their perception of their position and how this perception reflects on their lives and language in practice. This point must be addressed together with a critical discursive stance on how the poverty discourse is constructed. And also, it will provide a broad perspective on how and why perceptions and causal attributions of poverty occur.

3.2 Arguments of social constructionist approach: social context, power relations, ideology

Harper [89] argued that a social constructionist approach would be more inclusive, focusing on the question of “how” in poverty studies. The social constructionist approach involves discourse analysis [94], discursive psychology [95, 96], critical discourse analysis [97, 98], and critical psychology [99]. And it is a multidisciplinary approach. Social constructionism emphasizes the common construction of knowledge in the world of understanding/interpretation that changes, transforms, and interprets according to the context and uses qualitative research methods methodologically [100]. In other words, people, events, and situations are all products of social processes. In this sense, it would be appropriate to focus on how it is formed in the mind and how it continues, rather than the subjective effect created by the perception of poverty. The question of how poverty is built in the minds of the rich and the poor take away from discussing poverty solely on an individual basis; referring to the representation of group members to the class level [98]. In other words, the problem of poverty is not only the subjective perceptions of individuals and their state of being affected by the situation; it also includes the power relations of being rich and poor. The emergence of power relations between groups; will remove the individual aspects of poverty associated with being strong and weak. In this way, the accusing, victimization, or discourses that perpetuate or legitimize the state of poverty attributed to the poor may decrease. Also, the legitimacy of the invisibility of the poor and therefore poverty in society, which are constantly positioned as victims, can be questioned. The questioning is revealed through the methodological process. Social constructionist methodology analyzes power-discourse and positioning in speech, focusing on the action of language [95]. Therefore, first of all, this perspective is needed to prevent the reproduction of the accusing language of the disadvantaged groups and to overturn the belief that “poverty is an ongoing-unchangeable phenomenon”. The social constructionist approach reveals the language that sees poverty as “unchangeable” or “pathologizing”; can re-evaluate this language in terms of power and ideology relations. Discourse reproduces within ideology and establishes power relations through certain arguments (such as media, education, cultural-normative codes). For example, the social, cultural, ideological context in which poor people evaluate themselves and live, their interpretations of the state of poverty, how they position rich people, the basis or legitimate grounds of their strategies to cope with poverty, and how this process is in the context of ideological or power relations. In other words, knowing the cultural background of the geography in which we were born, the codes/norms of poverty, the daily language used for poor people or poverty, and providing suggestions in this context will make the research more powerful. And also, the question of how it is handled in society or through the media is important. Regarding the importance of this problem; We can give an example that how the poor/poverty is handled in the media affect both society’s attitude towards poverty and policy- making [101]. Therefore, steps to be taken on a discursive basis to answer this question may also contribute to poverty reduction initiatives.

3.3 Gender

Why should social psychology include gender-related arguments as a variable in its analysis? The answer to this question aims to contribute to the production of egalitarian policies for the sexes (especially women) who experience poverty at different levels. Continuing learning since childhood can position women and men in different places in society; these positions frequently direct women to domestic work and men to jobs aimed at generating economic income. While examining the effects of poverty on the individual; The causes of poverty and gender-based inequalities become visible; gender-centered meaning worlds of poverty emerge [102]. The fact that female deprivation is becoming more pronounced compared to men seems to be related to the impact of socio-political processes and gender perspective (see also [103]). The relation in question regarding poverty and gender; Fertility, differences in wages, power relations within the household, and ongoing poverty between generations [104]. Explaining that women experience more poverty than men, female poverty, or feminization of deprivation is an argument that should be included in social psychological analysis. Studies focusing particularly on the gender impact on poverty; can also involve suggestions that lead to gender equality. These proposals are likely to contribute to political steps, especially to reduce women’s poverty.

3.4 Migration

It is known that the phenomenon of migration in the literature has been shown by empirical studies as a feature attributed to the causes of poverty. But the approach that sees migration as a phenomenon causing poverty will be insufficient. We know that migration from rural to urban mostly takes place to get out of poverty. In other words, poverty emerges as a factor that accelerates migration. With the scarcity of job opportunities in the city and the increase in migration rate; Most of the time, immigrants are exposed to low wage, flexible and insecure conditions in the city. This situation reproduces the state of being poor. Therefore, the identity of immigrants who lose their rights and move away from the sense of equal citizenship will be revealed besides being poor. From this point on, psychological processes related to how immigrants are perceived by society or how they perceive themselves in society emerge. As these psychological processes, we can say; violence, social exclusion, gender discrimination, and prejudice experienced by immigrants. Although these arguments may seem like an outcome of immigration; Since it includes perceptions of both being poor and immigrant, it also points to psychological processes. Here the question of social psychology “what can I do to reduce poverty”; focusing on how immigrants evaluate themselves in their relationship with the local population; It emphasizes the principle of “equal citizenship” in terms of group belonging. This goal can be achieved through multidisciplinary studies to be carried out with local governments, media organizations, and social communication networks.

As we mentioned before, it is necessary to include multiple dimensions and different contexts such as power relations, inequality of opportunity, migration, gender perceptions, family relations, cultural codes, and historical background of the geography in which people live. For example, the migration from rural life to the city, or from one country to the other, especially due to compulsory reasons, may cause to decrease in economic and social resources. And also, social psychology can suggest effective ways for how rural and urban poverty is reflected in intergroup relations given the fact that disadvantaged situations experienced by certain groups, and for how to support structural steps taken to improve the lives of groups affected by poverty [92]. This initiative of social psychology may be effective in the necessity of equal living conditions for all groups. Discussing the dynamics that lead to the perpetuation of economic inequality and poverty with different arguments will lead to studies that allow the interaction of political scientists and psychologists [56]. Similarly, it would be more inclusive to examine poverty as a historical phenomenon (with ideological, psychological, and symbolic aspects). So, it can enable us to focus on the arguments of the capitalist system that are decisive in identity construction [105]. Thus, examining different contexts and representations can prevent the limitations of a research process aimed at testing only hypotheses [87, 106, 107, 108]. These multidimensional approaches and analyzes can help reveal potential ideas that can contribute to understanding poverty, preventing and ending it as a pathological phenomenon. So how will it help? The answer to this question will also be the answer to the second question of this study (what role does the proposed integrative approach to poverty analysis play in ending poverty and how is this approach set up?). The content of this analytical framework is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

The key location/role of social psychological analysis in contributing to poverty reduction.

According to Figure 2; integrative social psychological analysis can help understanding and alleviating poverty in three ways: (1) by including arguments and variables related to psychological and contextual processes in the analysis of poverty, (2) using both empirical (quantitative) research methods that reveal the causality, cause and effect relationships and possible effects of poverty and qualitative research methods that will reveal contextual relationships between arguments, (3) by making macro evaluations of cause-effect and context-specific results, making them applicable in interdisciplinary studies. The combined use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in poverty studies conducted with a social psychological perspective can provide potential answers to the question of “what can be done to reduce poverty?”. The information obtained through this analytical framework can be used in local governments that have responsibility for reducing poverty, in trade union activities that will reinforce the principle of equal citizenship, in migration centers, in media/communication, and some social/political responsibility projects. Undoubtedly, this process can strengthen the cooperation of social psychology with different disciplines and contribute to poverty reduction practices.


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Written By

Filiz Çömez Polat

Submitted: 14 November 2020 Reviewed: 05 January 2021 Published: 19 February 2021