Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology


Childhood, Discourse, Governmentality, Neoliberal, Policy, Poverty


Gerald Cradock




This study analyzes policy-oriented approaches to addressing poverty on a municipal, provincial, and national level. Pairing the Foucauldian governmentality framework with the new sociology of childhood, I explore how neoliberal subjectivities are reinforced through Poverty Reduction Strategies, and how the public has come to accept the Poverty Reduction Strategies as progressive, virtuous, and best practice. Using a genealogical approach and discourse analysis, I orient the strategies among previous techniques of poverty reduction to demonstrate that they are a product of their history and have been legitimized over time. I discover that these strategies use virtuous language to pair social and economic well-being through techniques of human capital development and economic contribution. The explicit focus on childhood throughout serves as rationale for reducing poverty by reinforcing an adult/child binary where children are seen as innocent, dependent, and passive. Children are subjected to the most intervention because of their limitless potential. I conclude by arguing that it is imperative that children are seen as social beings who are capable of contributing to their social worlds.