Culture of Poverty - Anthropology - Oxford Bibliographies
assumptions often stemming from “culture of poverty” theory—that have been .. The norms-and-values perspective posited a cause-and-effect relationship. lies calls for further examination of the relationship between cultural/behavioral and struc- tural causes of poverty. This paper will briefly examine the theoretical. Culture is back on the poverty agenda. The last generation of scholarship on the povertyculture relationship was primarily identified, for better or worse, with the.
If contemporary poverty is less divisive than its predecessor, this is because rich and poor are now united in a common endeavour — a desire for more, which coincides with the imperatives of capitalism.
The earlier culture of the poor offered a different solution: With the removal of much industry from the rich world, the poor were remade in the image of wealth. This is different from the incipient consciousness of the impoverished workers of Victorian Britain, who had a collective character. It responded to, and recognised, a common human destiny. It was, of course, dominated by male labour, since the labour of men was, in most industries, the only thing that stood between women and children and total destitution.
The new poverty, the triumphant poverty of modernity, unlike its predecessor, is not in opposition to capitalism. Quite the contrary; it pays homage to it, fealty almost.
Culture as a cause of poverty has been wilfully misinterpreted
It represents the extinction of social hope — the saving grace of an earlier, though even more grinding, capitalist poverty. It illuminates the wider dependency of humanity upon the market; market-dependency, a condition that does not name itself. Since capitalism has extinguished significant alternatives — belief systems, values or ideologies that could conceivably replace it — the new poverty has nothing to offer in its own stead; only the sharp, opportunistic wisdom of getting by, surviving; living, as they say, one day at a time.
Yet as Maureen Waller points out, policy thinking has been largely dominated by economic considerations such as support payments and has not incorporated perceptions of the parents themselves about indicators of good parental involvement.
Financial support, though important, did not overshadow noneconomic factors, and parents often view informal financial support as signaling a greater commitment from fathers than coerced formal child support payments. The latter were often viewed as potentially damaging to the relationship between the father and child. Incorporation of these cultural perspectives, Waller concludes, will strengthen public child support and parenthood policies. Poverty is more common among singlemother households.
He stresses, though, that none of these logics produces clear-cut courses of action. His analysis shows that inner-city culture is far-more heterogeneous than traditionally thought. Culture and Policymaking Can political institutions increase the voice of the poor in policymaking?
Vijayendra Rao and Paromita Sanyal examine a public policy implemented throughout India. They found that while the forums did indeed provide opportunity for participation, the proceedings tended to be dominated by competitive rather than deliberative interactions, and that class distinctions were regularly invoked.
How do the cultural lenses through which policy elites view poverty affect policymaking? Joshua Guetzkow compares two different conceptions of antipoverty policy from two periods in the United States.
Public policy stressing income supports, job training and incentives for working were implemented. By the early s, however, the diagnosis of policy elites had shifted and family breakdown teen pregnancy, drug abuse, lack of mainstream values as well as dependence on public support systems constituted the diagnostic frame.
This led to more restrictive welfare policies culminating in the welfare reform legislation, which emphasized work requirements and self-sufficiency. Guetzkow concludes that the policy frames of these different sets of policy elites contributed to the shift in policy toward a more punitive and less generous stance toward the poor.
Culture and Poverty - Learning-Research Themes
While both culture and structure matter, it is the structural impediments that have the largest negative effects on black inner-city neighborhoods. A significant policy challenge, he argues, is that despite the significant effects of structural factors in prolonging inner-city poverty, most Americans believe that the causes are rooted in the personal behaviors of the poor.
Wilson argues that a holistic approach, one that appreciates both the structural challenges and the cultural dynamics, has greatest potential to address deep-rooted poverty problems.
What lessons should policymakers take from this volume? Representative Lynn Woolsey stresses the need for legislators to constantly reexamine the assumptions they use in framing problems, and to be aware of societal changes that make their assumptions obsolete. She cites the shifting nature of the American family toward two-worker families, and the ways these changes have affected economic and social dynamics for families.
She argues that policies that support modern families are essential.
Expanding perspectives on the causes and consequences of poverty is essential if appropriate solutions are to be envisioned and carried out. The case for national action. Office of Policy Planning and Research, U. The National Poverty Center is charged with promoting high-quality research on the causes and consequences of poverty, evaluating and analyzing policies to alleviate poverty, and training the next generation of poverty researchers.
The NPC encourages the dissemination of this publication and grants full reproduction right to any party so long as proper credit is granted the NPC. Department of Health and Human Services. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author s and do not necessarily reflect the National Poverty Center or any sponsoring agency.
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