Dissertation Abstracts

Contemporary Dynamics of Poverty in Rural Egypt: The Case of Nazlet Salmân

Author: El Nour, Saker A.H, sakerabdol@gmail.com
Department: Ecole Doctorale « Milieux, Cultures et Sociétés du Passé et du Présent »
University: Universite Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense (Paris 10), France
Supervisor: Habib Ayeb and Michel MESSU
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: French

Keywords: dynamics of poverty , social construction , peasant society , Upper Egypt
Areas of Research: Agriculture and Food , Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy , Economy and Society


This thesis is based on a qualitative study of the dynamic of poverty in the Egyptian countryside, through the case study of the village of Nazlet Salmân, located in the Asyut governorate in Upper Egypt. This study was initially aimed at understanding the nature of poverty at the level of the domestic group, and analyzed these dynamics or changes on a variety of scales (micro and macro). This study employs the social construction of poverty as its theoretical framework. The study showed that the concept of poverty among the village poor is mainly based on local considerations that play a key role in the “identification and definition” of who is poor and who is not according to an evaluation of access to resources, income, expenditure, and social status. In addition, the state's concept of poverty is defective, and despite the intersection with the local concept of “income”, it does not include resources, but is limited only to “extreme poverty”. The village poor seek social stability and security and they do so using multiple strategies, including the diversification of means of income and employment inside and outside the agricultural sector, labour migration, and the exploitation of both individual and family resources. Each time a family’s land disappears or diminishes, the family experiences more social instability and insecurity. The study also shows that as a result of its agricultural politics and a vision of development that did not incorporate the poor's needs and desires, the state played an important role in peasants' impoverishment.

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