The individualistic view attributes poverty to individual failings of poor people themselves, while the structural view attributes poverty to problems in the larger society. Discuss two sociological theories of poverty and why it is important for social workers to develop a sociological approach to practice. Second, the functionalist explanation implies that the most important jobs have the highest incomes and the least important jobs the lowest incomes, but many examples, including the ones just mentioned, counter this view. Liebow, E. (1993). Copyright © 2003 - 2020 - UKEssays is a trading name of All Answers Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales. Functionalist analysis was prominent in the work of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer, two of the founding fathers of the discipline and was further developed and refined by Emile Durkheim and more recently by Parsons. The promotion is valid for either 10% or 15% off any service. From a conflict perspective, poverty is imposed, reflecting unequal power among social groups, and it will continue to be imposed until those harmed by it manage to force a change. The surplus population could all be put to work if the length of the working day were reduced. Contexts, 10(Spring), 16–21. Company Registration No: 4964706. Should There Be a Universal Basic Income in the U.S.? It is neither necessary nor inevitable. Murray, C. (2012). In the midst of plenty: The poor in America. Tumin, M. M. (1953). By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, All About Relative Deprivation and Deprivation Theory, What Is the Common Good in Political Science? Rather, it examines the differences that stratification makes for people’s lifestyles and their interaction with other people. Explain your answer. Definition and Examples, What Is Communitarianism? Any poverty line must be drawn relative to given societies and further to the social divisions they are in. Sociology Do people take on a position as CEO or other high-paying job at least partly because of the challenge, working conditions, and other positive aspects they offer? Poverty helps to maintain the domination of the bourgeoisie. More and more international efforts have been organized in recent decades to address the problems of the poorest among us. It is critical to determine which explanation makes more sense because, as sociologist Theresa C. Davidson (Davidson, 2009) observes, “beliefs about the causes of poverty shape attitudes toward the poor.” To be more precise, the particular explanation that people favor affects their view of government efforts to help the poor. When poverty finally attracted national attention during the 1960s, scholars began to try specifically to understand why poor people become poor and remain poor. The other America: Poverty in the United States. In the early 1900s, functionalist theorists saw social problems like criminal deviance, as a form of social pathology. The explanation for poverty we favor presumably affects the amount of sympathy we have for the poor, and our sympathy, or lack of sympathy, in turn affects our views about the government’s role in helping the poor. The second type of explanation follows from conflict theory and is a structural explanation that focuses on problems in American society that produce poverty. Social protection systems in Europe are among the most-highly-developed in the world but still, 16% of Europe’s population amounting to 79 million people live below the poverty line (set at 60% of their country’s median income) with one European in ten living in a household where nobody works. (This example is very hypothetical, but please keep reading.) A professional athlete making millions of dollars a year earns many times the income of the president of the United States, but who is more important to the nation? Marxism attributes poverty to the existence of class divisions in society. Blow, C. M. (2011, June 25). According to symbolic interactionism, social class affects how people interact in everyday life and how. In this regard, it reflects one of the early critiques of the functionalist view that the previous section outlined. Reconsidering culture and poverty. Sociological Perspectives on Poverty; The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology. Although the poor have often been blamed for their poverty, which is seen as the consequence of some form of personal inadequacy such as fecklessness or idleness, most studies explain the existence of poverty in terms of the social and economic structures of industrialised societies poverty studies have been criticised for not recognising that poverty may result if the income of a man. And if we must have stratification, then that means some people will have much less money than other people. Why does poverty exist, and why and how do poor people end up being poor? al., 2010). (2012, March 15). A weakness to the Marxists point of view is that it fails to explain why some groups are more prone to poverty than others, e.g. has a distinctive set of cultural norms and values any definition of poverty must include the choices and expectations that individuals have in their society. Registered office: Venture House, Cross Street, Arnold, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG5 7PJ. The most influential writer on this perspective is Herbert J. Gans (1971) who suggests that poverty benefits the rich and powerful, who have a vested interest in maintaining poverty. However, this view ignores the fact that much of our stratification stems from lack of equal opportunity. Elementary school teachers do a very important job in our society, but their salaries are much lower than those of sports agents, advertising executives, and many other people whose jobs are far less essential.
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