Forgotten by the highway: Globalisation, adverse incorporation and chronic poverty in a commercial farming district

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Centre for Social Science Research

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University of Cape Town

The paper highlights the key insights arising from a household livelihood survey conducted in Ceres as part of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre’s work in South Africa. It argues that conventional livelihoods analysis needs to be informed by a much more sophisticated awareness of the local and global socioeconomic factors that mediate and shape the strategies that are available in local contexts. The livelihoods of the marginalised rural poor in Ceres, for instance, have to be understood against the background of complex shifts and realignments in global agro-food networks and the implications for local labour market restructuring. This analysis casts doubt on the appropriateness of attempts to frame poverty in South Africa in terms of social exclusion and the lack of integration into the ‘First World’ economy. Rather than social exclusion, poverty in Ceres needs to be understood in terms of adverse incorporation.