In recent debates over poverty and development, notions of worth, dignity, and human rights have come to the forefront. This publication addresses the link between the theoretical notion of dignity as a social primary good and its material expressions in daily life from comparative social anthropological and historical perspectives. The empirical analysis is based on over one hundred in-depth interviews with lone mothers living in different cultural settings in Costa Rica. In addition, a unique and innovative national social policy measure aimed at promoting dignity and self-worth as a means to exit poverty and secure sustainable development is assessed.
Monica Budowski is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.