Monday, March 18, 2013

Oikos Journey Chapter 2

(continuing a critique of the Oikos Journey. The first post is here)

This chapter is about the voices of the poor. The first paragraph invites us to think of ourselves as the 'non-poor'. This is a thought-provoking term. Who are the non-poor? I would guess the authors didn't want to use the word 'rich' as few of us think of ourselves as rich, but non-poor, yes I guess that could be me.

I love this line, "People are amazingly resilient, . . . and hope thrives against all expectations." When non-Africans write about Africa there is often a picture of despair and gloom. This rarely a true picture and it is good to see a bottom line of hope in this document.

The rest of the chapter is a set of quotes from poor people interviewed as part of the study. This certainly gives a voice to some of the poor. From an academic point of view, they are anecdotes, however and do not provide evidence of anything except the existence of certain individual cases. They give no sense of the scope of the problem and we are unaware of how the stories were selected. This not to deny that poverty is a concern in South Africa, just that this chapter in the document simply illustrates it and doesn't prove it.


Peter Grassow said...

John Wesley defines "rich" as someone who has enough to eat for today, and clothes to wear for the day, and has something left over.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

John Wesley was a good guy :-)