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World bank's changing approach to poverty from a neoliberal to a third way approach: the case of Turkey

Bademci, Emine
This study aims to understand and explain World Bank’s changing approach to poverty since 1990. Established as a development institution and as one of the leading members of development community, the World Bank has nearly turned out to be a poverty alleviation institution especially from late 1990s on. This change is a reflection of a process in which the Bank shapes its approach to poverty not only in accordance with its own goals but also in the framework of what happens in wider social, economic and political spheres of which the Bank is a part as a subject that both shapes and is shaped by them to a certain extent. Consequently, a remarkable change is observed in the Bank’s approach, and this process of change is investigated in this study in two sub-periods that are characterized by ruptures in continuity. The first period more or less between 1990 and 1997 is characterized by the Bank’s neoliberal approach to poverty, which mainly assumes poverty as a complementary element of structural adjustment programs in countries they are implemented. The second period from 1997 up to present is characterized, on the other hand, by a “third way” approach to poverty which mainly assumes poverty-as-social-exclusion as an indispensable central element of a renewed hegemonic project. In this study, the traces of these ruptures and the continuity in the Bank’s approach are followed through their reflections on Turkey by making a close reading of the Bank’s documents about poverty in Turkey.