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    Legal aesthetics of poverty: mediating knowledge and intervention

    Ansari, Moniza Rizzini (2020) Legal aesthetics of poverty: mediating knowledge and intervention. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis is an investigation of urban poverty as a legal-aesthetic composition. I explore the connections between practices of poverty knowledge, antipoverty law and direct interventions upon poor populations and territories. The knowledge-law-intervention compound is examined in this thesis as co-producing poverty as a problem to be fixed. Together, they integrate the ‘industry of global poverty reduction ’which, capitalising on the idea of non-profit aid, creates its own objects of intervention and the conditions for its own global expansion. As this is a critical legal research project, law is conceptualised as an active mediator, enabling both circuits of knowledge and intervention by enacting and enforcing ways of seeing poverty. I draw on the scholarship of law and aesthetics to argue that legal practices set in motion a series of techniques of visualisation which activate the images of poverty contained in poverty data. As such, quantitative indicators are turned into qualifications of poverty, shaping interventive measures that are designed to remedy the problem of poverty as it has been created. Therefore, I provide a characterisation of poverty as primarily a command of legal techniques, a normative designation which then ascribes to its concept the contours of an attribute, a state of being, and a material condition. Poverty is thus both produced and productive, in relation to which law itself is, in turn, both formative and formed as an emergent effect–with forms, codes and institutional structures. By observing the ways in which multilateral financial institutions reconfigure the visual economy of poverty in the age of microfinance, I establish connections between local and global practices aimed at ‘saving the poor’ and argue that they work as legal-aesthetic modulations organising territories and populations. In determining these practices, I am guided by my own position as a ‘socio-legal practice researcher’ who develops social projects in Brazilian urban territories of poverty and violence.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 10:22
    Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 10:47


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