Urban Poverty: Consumption Patternsand Survival Strategies in Greater Khartoum

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Ibtisam Satti, Ibrahim
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The incidence of poverty was known throughout human history, though, it was conceived of as a natural phenomenon. This conception had recently changed and the people came to know that poverty and miseries are not inevitable. While the issue of poverty has gained attraction in both national and international agenda long time ago, urban poverty has recently gained prominence and has been a focus of development studies and debates. Developing countries have been struggling to alleviate poverty ever since their independence. But many challenges are facing them. Among these challenges, globalization is fundamental as it threatens their cultures and societies. The impact on the poor is far reaching and the existing gap between the people of the same society is widening, particularly under the effect of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Paradoxically, the growing poverty and hunger have gone hand in hand with economic growth. While millions are starving, markets are full of surplus food. While some people are mal-nourished, others are exceedingly over fed. But poverty is a multi-faceted phenomenon. It includes not only material deprivation, but also other none—material deprivation. Beside lack of permanent jobs, lack of security of income and work, lack of adequate housing and health, there is also lack of dignity, respect, self-esteem and a feeling of inferiority. Two basic levels of poverty are identified in the literature. They are absolute poverty (defined as the cost of the minimum necessities needed to sustain human life), and relative poverty, on the other hand defined as the minimum economic, social, political and cultural goods needed to maintain an acceptable way of life in a particular society.this research work deals with poverty as a class phenomenon regardless of its being relative or absolute. Urban poverty is chosen as a field of study in pursuit of the trend of urban research in Sudan that started under the colonial situation to tackle social change. Recently, attention is drawn to other crucial problems in the study of towns and cities. Among these, urban poverty preceded. The objective of this study is to define the concept of poverty in relation to the Sudanese experience to avoid straight jackets definitions. Tackled historically within the framework of the political economy, poverty is considered a class phenomenon and the poor belong to the same class. Neverthless, internal variations among them do exist. This is particularly true baring in mind the immaturity of class divisions and class structure. The capitalist development path that the country adopted, resulted in the impoverishment of the majority of the Sudanese population and particularly that of the working class. A major contribution of this research on the theoretical level is the definition of Sudanese poor class.The study seeks to identify the indicators pertaining to the incidence of urban poverty, to find out who are the urban poor, their profiles and the way they survive. The poor, whether in the rural or the urban areas belong to the same class by virtue of their position in the production process. The difference between them is only a difference of degree and not of kind. Their poverty is caused by the system of differential resource allocation, and hence the process of the labour market. The study, adopting a qualitative rather than a quantitative approach, analyzed the consumption patterns of the poor, to illuminate the state of poverty they are facing and the survival strategies they adopt to cope with their poverty. Class analysis allows for the study of the city in relation to the country-side as they both existed within the same system of capitalist production process. Nevertheless, the city expresses more vividly the evils and the contradictions of the capitalist system that makes some people rich and the majority poor. Urban poverty is thus a concomitant of rural poverty and historically emerged as a manifestation of the growth of the process of dependent urbanization. So, rural poverty and urban poverty are the two faces of the same coin. This study takes the household as the unit of analysis as it is within the household that the poor managed to survive by utilizing all the resources available within the household. The thorough investigation of the consumption patterns of the poor is complemented by other social indicators such as housing, access to health services, education, sanitation etc., to reflect the whole picture of poverty and deprivation the poor are facing. The study links between poverty class and consumption patterns. A astratified sample of 300 household distributed within Greater Khartoum was selected and (15 ) cases were further investigated to provide more qualitative data which could not be attained through the use of questionnaire. The main findings of the research are that the poor who belong to the same social class exibit internal variations due to the stage of thier life cycle, their security of work and their number of dependents. Social networks are the social capital that the poor depend upon to mitigate their poverty and to continue alive. Other, legal and illegal survival strategies are adopted by different households in response to poverty. Finally the study recommended some basic solutions to get rid of poverty, to attain the lost equality and to combat the ever escalating poverty. The researcher hopes that this study will contribute something of value to literature as well as to policy
Urban Poverty, Consumption, Patternsand ,Survival Strategies, Greater, Khartoum