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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 current ‘qual-quant’ approach is illustrated with examples, and the author concludes that the future may well see the emergence of a ‘participatory qual-quant’ approach.

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