Culture of Poverty Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.


cultural explanations of poverty

Abstract. This article illustrates the difference between individual and structural accounts of poverty in the U.S. Some of the correlates of poverty among individuals are job loss, low skills, female family head, discrimination against blacks and hispanics, family size, and age at by: Jul 31,  · Theory Two: Poverty Is Structural The left-wing view is that poverty is a structural phenomenon. On this view, people are in poverty because they find themselves in holes in the economic system that deliver them inadequate income. Because individual lives are dynamic, people don't sit in those holes forever. Oct 14,  · Despite its great wealth, the United States has long struggled with poverty. One popular theory for the paradox suggests that a “culture of poverty” prevents the poor from economic betterment despite social programs designed to assist them. The phrase .

Individual and structural explanations of poverty | SpringerLink

Despite its great wealth, the United States has long struggled with poverty. The phrase was originally coined by Oscar Lewiscultural explanations of poverty, who believed that children growing up in poor families would learn to adapt to the values and norms that perpetuated poverty.

The children would replicate these in their own lives, creating a cycle of intergenerational poverty, cultural explanations of poverty. His claims were harshly criticized by many black and civil rights leaders, among others, for explaining black poverty as a product of black culture rather than deeper structural inequalities.

The debate about its relevance has re-emerged with controversial comments by politician Paul Ryan, as well as numerous editorials in the AtlanticThe New York Times, and elsewhere. Mario Luis Small: There has been some evolution, cultural explanations of poverty, but it has probably been less in the political sphere than among social scientists. Both positions are quite old, dating at least to s. Those who study poverty rarely think about cultural questions in this way, instead tending to focus on basic structural factors, cultural explanations of poverty, such as the quality of schools or the availability of jobs, as explanations for poverty.

Few social scientists have attempted to understand poverty through these alternative conceptions. Many of those who do focus on questions such as the impact of poverty on culture or cultural practices, rather than the impact of culture on poverty.

Those writings suggested that people who faced few economic opportunities in society grew hopeless. In many ways, the early discussions of the culture of poverty were a call for action, a demand that the United States, a country that prides itself in economic opportunity, take notice of the many who could not realize those opportunities. In the mids, the culture of poverty became associated with African Americans living in cultural explanations of poverty pockets of poverty in urban areas.

Since then, the idea that social and economic well-being ought to be measured by how few people are using government programs and not by the well-being of American families themselves has come to guide government programs.

For example, the success of the federal welfare reforms passed under President Bill Clinton has been measured by the dramatic decline in the number of families receiving cash benefits. What is forgotten is that the number of American families living in poverty has risen since the welfare reforms. Some are political, cultural explanations of poverty.

The term is easy to reinvent from year to year. Mark Gould: Since the Civil Rights Movement, almost everyone in the USA has come to believe that all citizens deserve equal opportunity and most have come to believe that all have equal opportunity. Most of us believe that our values are actually implemented. I limit myself here to a discussion of African Americans.

African Americans do less well than otherwise comparable whites on many measures of performance; poor people do less well, by definition, economically, but they also do less well educationally and are incarcerated at higher rates whatever their actual criminal activity.

Social scientists are, however, less likely to believe that equal opportunity is in place, which immunizes many of them from falling into this trap. This simplistic account of poverty—one that suggests that certain populations have developed cultural explanations of poverty social and economic sub-cultures outside the mainstream—blinds us from the historical contingencies and the political decisions that have led to a high rate of poverty relative to most wealthy nations.

The current understanding of the culture of poverty suggests that poverty is intractable and dismisses that idea that policy changes can lower the rate of poverty in the United States or address the concentration of poverty in certain populations such as African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and recent Asian immigrants; the disabled; and the parents of young children. How has the idea of a culture of poverty affected politics and society?

These arguments result in policies that seek to change blacks. Such arguments miss the nature and consequences of contemporary discrimination. While there is plenty of overt discrimination, disparate treatment, the more important form of discrimination in the USA today, is disparate impact. This is where ostensibly neutral structures and organizations, organizations that treat blacks and whites as if they were the same, generate adverse consequences for blacks.

They result in policies that seek to change blacks rather than change organizational constraints and persistent discrimination. When blacks and whites perform different cultures, act out different cultural identities, there is no reason to think that the differences are intrinsically relevant to educational performance; however, they may well affect performance when taken in conjunction with how students who perform these cultural differences are regarded and dealt with in organizations.

African Americans may have a different subculture than whites, but if they perform less well than whites, it is not because of that subculture, but because of how they are processed in organizations because of it. This discussion is, of course, too simple. This perpetuates the illusion that those people —the poor people who lack a real work ethic—are poor for a reason, but that others, particularly hardworking members of the middle class, are invulnerable to economic risk so long as they are working hard enough.

The persistence of the culture of poverty theory also distracts the public and lawmakers from celebrating the policy decisions that have been successful in ameliorating poverty. As a result, popular and governmental commitments to fighting poverty are slight. Does talk about the US as a post-racial society influence the rhetoric around cultural explanations of poverty culture of poverty? In post-Civil Rights Movement America, which some erroneously see as a post-racial society, the logic of this argument changes fundamentally.

There is a paradox here. Participants in the Civil Rights Movement fought for the inclusion of African Americans, and derivatively others within the American Creedfor their inclusion as full citizens. The success of the Movement, the inclusion of African Americans, including the poor, within the egalitarian values dominant in American society, and given the reality of African Americans performing less well than whites in many areas, cultural explanations of poverty, has resulted in the construction of a New Racism.

What is missing from the current public discourse about the culture of poverty? What can sociologists contribute to the discussion of poverty policies?

Gustafson: Social scientists concerned about social inequality should turn their attention to poverty, especially child poverty. Scholars can play a role in informing students and the public of the very fact that child poverty is widespread, can take opportunities to study the long-term effects of child poverty on families and society, and can use their skills to study the effectiveness of particular policies in reducing child poverty.

More work needs to be done in tracing and examining the successes of government led-anti-poverty efforts, from the drop in poverty among elderly Americans to the documented, long-term effects of Head Start programs.

We tend to focus on failures and ignore successes. Sociologists keen on historical and comparative work might promote awareness that the United States is an outlier and that policies common in other countries—universal health care, paid family cultural explanations of poverty for workers with young children, and universal child allowances—are effective in reducing poverty there.

Sociologists might promote awareness that the United States is an outlier, that policies common in other countries—universal health care, paid family leave for workers with young children, and universal child allowances—are effective in reducing poverty.

Finally, qualitative sociologists can serve an important function in carefully and critically documenting the experiences of the poor, particularly because there is little in the popular media about the experiences of the poor and poor people have little political access in a country cultural explanations of poverty money is speech.

While most Americans are overexposed to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, we rarely hear about how poverty affects daily lives and how it limits choices and life chances. First, a broader understanding of the many ways that anthropologists and others cultural explanations of poverty study culture but not poverty have conceptualized culture, its impact on behavior, its response to intervention, and its limitations as an explanatory factor. The one advantage of the new generation of scholars working on these questions is that they were not part of the highly acrimonious debate over culture during the s and s.

The debate was so contentious and the rhetoric so heated that it has been difficult to address even basic empirical questions from a scientific perspective. This shows how far we need to go. For example, a lot of people assume that social scientists who examine the relationship between culture and poverty must have a particular political agenda. Some even believe that studying culture necessarily implies a particular political posture. Yet notice that entire academic disciplines—most notably, anthropology—are fundamentally devoted to the study of culture.

The fact that anyone believes that studying culture means rehashing that old idea shows how far we need to go. Social values regulate what is desirable; they constitute obligations. If folks do not find a good job desirable, cultural explanations of poverty, if they do not feel the obligation to work, they will not seek out jobs when the opportunity to do so arises.

If cultural explanations of poverty do not value education, do not feel an obligation to do well in school, they will not orient themselves to educational opportunities.

In contrast to these contentions, there is a lot of evidence that inner-city blacks share the dominant values of USA society, including the positive evaluation of hard work and a commitment to education. If this is correct, we would expect them, for example, to seek work when it is available, and they do so. There is a lot of evidence that inner-city cultural explanations of poverty share the dominant values of hard work and a commitment to education.

Often, cultural explanations of poverty oppositional culture is understood to inhibit intrinsically educational or occupational success; it may be seen, for example, cultural explanations of poverty, as devaluing educational success. This is an oppositional culture, but only in the sense that African-Americans do not want to sacrifice it. As an oppositional culture, it is fully compatible with the values dominant in United States society.

If this analysis makes sense, our concern should be to construct opportunities for the inner-city poor to succeed, ladders of achievement that facilitate their success in school, that make it possible for them to find jobs that will support their families in dignity, and to reconstruct organizations in a way that makes it possible for African-Americans to share in organizational governance so that African-American cultural identities might be actualized to the benefit of all Americans.

Mark Gould is in the sociology department at Haverford Cultural explanations of poverty. Mario Luis Small is a sociologist at Harvard University.

That reality has routinely and popularly been explained as a result of their inferiority. Initially the claim was rooted in genetics. Today it is based primarily on a theory of cultural explanations of poverty deficiency. Sir, Perhaps you do agree that we are least concerned or ashamed of our deep rooted corruption, degraded Environment, dirty Politics, poor public work place, non-stop consumption of Social Space.

Hopelessness syndrome is one of the prime factors causing our harsh, indecent living. Force the entire generation survive within a society where quality Space is almost nil. All of us do nurture Poverty right inside our own home. If freedom is desired sincerely from the very vicious cycle of poverty has to change lifestyle - restrict ourselves from procreation to any child by any means discontinue the corruption legacy till the society improves, co-parenting adopt children those are born in extreme poverty, cultural explanations of poverty, instead.

Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Roundtable October 14, Comments 6 Should the U. Should the U. Should the US provide reparations for slavery and Jim Crow? Provide Reparations for Slavery and Jim Crow? Siddhartha — October 31, Sir, Perhaps you do agree that we are least concerned or ashamed of our deep rooted corruption, degraded Environment, dirty Politics, poor public work place, non-stop consumption of Social Space, cultural explanations of poverty.

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Culture of poverty - Wikipedia


cultural explanations of poverty


CRITICALLY EXAMINE THE CULTURAL EXPLANATIONS OF POVERTY In order to analyse the different cultural explanations of poverty, first we have to understand what poverty is. It can be defined by an absolute or relative definition. In an absolute definition, poverty is the complete lack of essential means to survive, such as food, shelter and clothing. Culture of Poverty Law and Legal Definition Culture of poverty refers to a social theory that explains the cycle of poverty. It is based on the concept that the poor have a unique value system and the poor remain in poverty because of their adaptations to the burdens of poverty. May 08,  · In this lesson, we'll talk about a theory known as the culture of poverty, which suggests that poverty is the result of cultural values passed down through generations.