The goal of our research is to understand how people talk and think about poverty, and how people act to address it.  We seek to understand the unstated messages below the stated responses. To address our questions we formed a research team consisting of Greencastle community members, a DePauw professor, DePauw students, and a retired professor from IUPUI. Last spring, we interviewed 6 people that work with or are involved in local organizations in Greencastle. The preliminary results showed all of them think poverty is a problem in Greencastle but they have very different views on poverty.  By doing participatory research, we started to form a deeper understanding of O’Connor’s (2001) concept of “poverty knowledge”. We began to challenge the widely held view which sees poverty as the “problem” of the poor and move towards a framework of understanding poverty as a structural problem shaped by the economy, history, and policy. We produced maps and digital stories about our community that may provide alternative ways for people to think about poverty.

YaTing Yang

DePauw University