Articles authored by Thomas, Bejoy K.

Review Essay

Compared with the divisive views of the past, integrative thinking has recently come to characterise the methodological debate on poverty. 'Qualitative vs quantitative' has given way to 'qual–quant'; 'cross-disciplinarity' has replaced 'economics vs anthropology'. This article attempts to review this change. It begins with a historical overview of the pure economic approach to poverty and its critique. The critique, both from within economics and from the participatory and anthropological disciplines, is examined, and recent trends are considered.


The possibilities and limits of participation at the ‘bottom’ (represented, for example, by PRA and PLA) have been well articulated in development literature. However, the emergence of the Knowledge Society has opened up spaces for what we could call participation at the ‘top’ (free software, wiki, open access), the implications of which Development Studies is only beginning to grapple with. Building upon recent debates on the issue, we take the cases of the free software movement and participatory development, arguing that they share common ground in several ways.